Interaction between Urban ARK and ForPAC: Urban Flood Forecasting in Nairobi

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There are a growing number of national and international research programmes in Nairobi focused on disaster risk and climate change. The Urban ARK consortia and ForPAc: Towards Forecast Based Preparedness Action, are interacting in various ways to further strengthen collaboration and synergies for their related research being undertaken in Nairobi. 

Nairobi, off Naivasha Road

The two programmes held a joint urban flooding stakeholder workshop held in Nairobi on 28th September, 2017. Links between researchers on ForPAc and Urban ARK were first established through institutional partnerships:

At Kings College London (KCL) Professors Mark Pelling and Bruce Malamud, and doctoral researcher Bernard Majani, provided initial opportunities for collaboration on urban flood risk. The ForPAc project links with the urban resilience expertise at KCL, bringing this together with local forecasters and data in partnership with the Kenyan Meteorological Department (KMD) through ForPAc.

The urban flood workshop provided the opportunity to further develop partnerships on this issue, linking Urban Ark partners including the Nairobi Risk Partnership, the Kounkuey Design Initiative and Nairobi City County Government officials with ForPAc partners including the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), 3Di flood mapping and International Water Stewardship Programme representatives.

The stakeholder workshop included a series of short talks that brought together diverse perspectives from across Urban ARK and ForPAc:

Martin Todd, University of Sussex ForPAc Principal Investigator - Introduction to ForPAc

Mary Kilavi, Nairobi County Director KMD - Assessing flood-related risk in Nairobi

Halima Saado, KRCS - flood preparedness planning 2015 & 2016

Mark Ojal, Nairobi City Risk Partnership - raising risk awareness for effective disaster risk management, collaborating with the University of Nairobi and Nairobi City County Government.

Jamilla Harper Kounkuey Design Initiative – flood risks and management in Kibera

Mario Kainga, Water, Sanitation and Energy Director, Nairobi City County - solid waste management, water, sanitation and road and drainage during flood

Abel Omanga, 3Di – flood simulation systems and use for risk management

While flooding is in large part a structural issue related to infrastructure, regulation and planning, with issues of inequalities in wealth and power creating patterns of exposure and vulnerability, it is widely recognised that flood risk assessment and forecasting can play an important role in managing risks.

ForPAc and Urban Ark seek to further discussions between partners to develop ideas and initiatives and build on collaborations through follow-up meetings to develop more comprehensive stakeholder mapping, introduce prototype flood forecast products and move towards planning and training on approaches for Forecast based Action for resilience. 

Blog written by Olivia Taylor, Research Assistant & ForPAc Project Manager School of Global Studies University of Sussex