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A recent study conducted by the Addis Ababa City Fire, Emergency Prevention and Rescue Agency disclosed that 121,000 houses in Addis, including 1,000 government and private institutions are in locations vulnerable to flood disasters.
The study which took six months to complete identified 143 areas as having a high risk of flooding. It recommended that homes there be relocated or reconstructed to avoid a potential disaster that could take thousands of lives and potentially damage 4.5 billion birr in property.
A majority of the risky places are in Gullele and Nifas Silk Sub cities where houses are constructed near rivers and drainage sites.
The Agency, which is notifying home owners who are at risk, initially identified 53 flood prone areas but recently added 90 places to that number after another investigation.
Source in the agency told capital that many houses should be removed to save them from flood disaster.
“The housing shortfall is likely to increase vulnerability to flood events amongst three specific social groups. First, many people have been forced to live in squatter sites where no formal physical or social infrastructure is available and tenure is insecure. Second, the low values of rentals obtained relative to maintenance costs has meant that households in the public and private rental sectors may suffer from especially poor physical environments. Third, housing demand has encouraged house owners to sub-divide properties (leading to the creation of vulnerable “bottom houses”.
Riversides in Addis Ababa have been a source of worry for residents in their precipices. The areas have been dogged by landslides, pollution and lack of development for ages. But due to a spate of development activities around ten of them, that might change soon.
The research found that Addis Ababa rivers and riversides face problems which include: badly polluted segments through direct discharge of domestic waste generated mainly from households and institutions; river bank erosion; and inaccessible rivers and riversides.
UN figures show that this year alone, 117 million people around the world have suffered from some 300 natural disasters brought about by climate change, including devastating droughts in China and Africa, and massive flooding in Asia and Africa, costing nearly USD 15 billion in damages. This included Addis Ababa.
Last year there were 76 floods in the city, damaging houses and properties worth 20 million birr. Flooding also claimed the life of one man who lived in Nifas Silk Lafto sub – city. The figures are twice as many as last year.