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Floods in the Douala metropolis, Cameroon : attribution to changes in rainfall characteristics or planning failures?

Yengoh, Genesis Tambang LU ; Fogwe, Zephania N. and Armah, Frederick Ato (2016) In Journal of Environmental Planning and Management p.1-27
Abstract

With urban populations worldwide expected to witness substantial growth over the next decades, pressure on urban land and resources is projected to increase in response. For policy-makers to adequately meet the challenges brought about by changes in the dynamics of urban areas, it is important to clearly identify and communicate their causes. Floods in Douala (the most densely populated city in the central African sub-region), are being associated chiefly with changing rainfall patterns, resulting from climate change in major policy circles. We investigate this contention using statistical analysis of daily rainfall time-series data covering the period 1951–2008, and tools of geographic information systems. Using attributes such as... (More)

With urban populations worldwide expected to witness substantial growth over the next decades, pressure on urban land and resources is projected to increase in response. For policy-makers to adequately meet the challenges brought about by changes in the dynamics of urban areas, it is important to clearly identify and communicate their causes. Floods in Douala (the most densely populated city in the central African sub-region), are being associated chiefly with changing rainfall patterns, resulting from climate change in major policy circles. We investigate this contention using statistical analysis of daily rainfall time-series data covering the period 1951–2008, and tools of geographic information systems. Using attributes such as rainfall anomalies, trends in the rainfall time series, daily rainfall maxima and rainfall intensity–duration–frequency, we find no explanation for the attribution of an increase in the occurrences and severity of floods to changing rainfall patterns. The culprit seems to be the massive increase in the population of Douala, in association with poor planning and investment in the city's infrastructure. These demographic changes and poor planning have occurred within a physical geography setting that is conducive for the inducement of floods. Failed urban planning in Cameroon since independence set the city up for a flood-prone land colonization. This today translates to a situation in which large portions of the city's surface area and the populations they harbor are vulnerable to the city's habitual annual floods. While climate change stands to render the city even more vulnerable to floods, there is no evidence that current floods can be attributed to the changes in patterns of rainfall being reported in policy and news domains.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
climate change, Douala, floods, population growth, rainfall, urban planning
in
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
pages
27 pages
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84967019328
ISSN
0964-0568
DOI
10.1080/09640568.2016.1149048
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
47e2727b-a41b-4c5b-a5fe-953acf142845
date added to LUP
2016-07-15 12:11:30
date last changed
2016-09-29 09:17:50
@misc{47e2727b-a41b-4c5b-a5fe-953acf142845,
  abstract     = {<p>With urban populations worldwide expected to witness substantial growth over the next decades, pressure on urban land and resources is projected to increase in response. For policy-makers to adequately meet the challenges brought about by changes in the dynamics of urban areas, it is important to clearly identify and communicate their causes. Floods in Douala (the most densely populated city in the central African sub-region), are being associated chiefly with changing rainfall patterns, resulting from climate change in major policy circles. We investigate this contention using statistical analysis of daily rainfall time-series data covering the period 1951–2008, and tools of geographic information systems. Using attributes such as rainfall anomalies, trends in the rainfall time series, daily rainfall maxima and rainfall intensity–duration–frequency, we find no explanation for the attribution of an increase in the occurrences and severity of floods to changing rainfall patterns. The culprit seems to be the massive increase in the population of Douala, in association with poor planning and investment in the city's infrastructure. These demographic changes and poor planning have occurred within a physical geography setting that is conducive for the inducement of floods. Failed urban planning in Cameroon since independence set the city up for a flood-prone land colonization. This today translates to a situation in which large portions of the city's surface area and the populations they harbor are vulnerable to the city's habitual annual floods. While climate change stands to render the city even more vulnerable to floods, there is no evidence that current floods can be attributed to the changes in patterns of rainfall being reported in policy and news domains.</p>},
  author       = {Yengoh, Genesis Tambang and Fogwe, Zephania N. and Armah, Frederick Ato},
  issn         = {0964-0568},
  keyword      = {climate change,Douala,floods,population growth,rainfall,urban planning},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  pages        = {1--27},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x971caf0)},
  series       = {Journal of Environmental Planning and Management},
  title        = {Floods in the Douala metropolis, Cameroon : attribution to changes in rainfall characteristics or planning failures?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2016.1149048},
  year         = {2016},
}