Mr Chairman, dignitaries from various countries, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, I feel elated to be chosen to address this house on the rampant extreme weather events, its impacts and the best ways to respond to these extreme weather events.
Mr Chairman, extreme weather events are weather events which arises mainly due to changes in climatic conditions. These events occur outside the normal range of weather conditions. Examples include droughouts, hurricanes, wildfire, floods and so on.
Mr Chairman, extreme weather events have impacted negatively on people's health, businesses and the world at large. On 3rd June, 2015, our country experienced one of its worse extreme weather event. We had a torrential rain for about 6 hours which resulted in flood. This flood coupled with fire outbreak destroyed a lot of properties worth millions of Ghana cedis. Shops, cars, houses were destroyed. 154 people lost their lives with about 200 people sustaining various forms of injuries. The government at that time had to take care of of those who were injured and also gave financial packages to the families of those who lost their relatives.
Mr Chairman, the impacts of extreme weather events cannot be overlooked and as such there is the need for pragmatic measures to be taken to drastically reduce the impacts. Some of the effective measures which need to be taken are to plant more trees, reduce the emissions of gases into the atmosphere, construct big drains and also build flood defences.
Mr Chairman, we can reduce the impacts of extreme weather events by planting of more trees. Trees serve as wind break. This means that trees could absorb the wind from torrential rains, hurricanes and so on. Also trees provide oxygen and this help in combacting global warming and drought.
Mr Chairman, we can also reduce extreme weather events by reducing the emissions of gases into the atmosphere which deplete the Ozone layer. The continuous depletion of the Ozone layer brings about heatwaves, drought and so on. This decision to reduce carbon emissions is very difficult but world international bodies like the UN, EU, AU should adopt measures to it members to reduce the emission. For example, we can tax the big companies and countries which produces huge amount of greenhouse gases they make. This will help in reducing the emission of gases into the atmosphere. We should also persuade them in order for them to reduce the emissions.
Mr Chairman, in addition, we can reduce extreme weather event such as floods by constructing bigger drains. In Africa, most of the floods we experience are as a result of small open drains. This makes it easy for the drains to be overflowed when it rains. There is therefore the need construct bigger and closed drains to avoid flooding. Also, there are a lot of people in Africa and Ghana to be precise, who throw rubbish into gutters. This choke the gutters leading to flooding when it rains. People who do that should be fined to serve as a deterrent to others.
Mr Chairman, we can further reduce extreme weather events by building flood and see defences. Flood and sea defences help prevent flood by blocking the water from going beyond its boundaries.
Mr Chairman, various governments across the globe have a role to play in combating extreme weather events. Government are there to protect its citizens and therefore they must take measures to help curb such events. Governments across the globe should ensure that strict measures are put in place to punish those who throw rubbish into gutters. They should fine people who engages in illegal cutting down of trees. This will discourage others to also do same.
Mr Chairman, various governments can also help in extreme weather situations by giving aid and grants to another country which has been affected by extreme weather events. They can also provide loan facilities to such countries.
Mr Chairman, governments can further help in extreme weather events by building more health facilities. Extreme weather events bring a lot of fatalities and as such there should be adequate health facilities which can take care of the people who have been injured. This will reduce the impacts on death.
Mr Chairman, various governments should establish emergency funds so that whenever extreme weather event occurs, they can use the fund to support the situation at hand.
Mr Chairman, extreme weather events, though, mainly unpredictable, it is necessary for governments across the globe to focus on preventive actions rather than reactive actions. It is better to prevent it from happening than allowing it to happen which comes with lost of lives, destruction of properties and businesses. There is a saying that "prevention is better than cure".
Mr Chairman, extreme weather events normally occur within a particular location and therefore, a local response will be better since they are the people who are more affected and they understand the situation better. That notwithstanding, a global response will complement the local response to make it effective. Countries can support affected countries by giving them loans, aid, and grants. The aid or grants can be in the form of cash or in kind.
Mr Chairman, future generations are our future leaders so we have to protect our environment so that they do not suffer in future. We should adopt the policy of planting trees, recycle our biodegradable materials so as to reduce carbon emissions, build proper drainage systems. These measures should be put in place so that we can save the lives of our future generations.
Mr Chairman, In conclusion extreme weather events such as floods, hurricanes wildfire etc. have really affected most nations by claiming lives, destroying billions of properties and have had negative impact on economies of many nations. It is therefore important that we critically put in place measures to reduce the impact and prevent those which can be avoided from occurring.