UN-Habitat Jordan launches flood risk assessment, hazard mapping study for downtown Amman

Project is informed by this urgent need in addition to the urgency of sustaining social stabilisation in Amman


AMMAN — In collaboration with Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), UN-Habitat Jordan held a workshop last week to launch the flood risk assessment and hazard mapping study as well as the proposed flood intervention. It also addressed the outcomes of the community consultation sessions and the prioritised pilot project.

The workshop came as part of the project “Strengthening the Social Stability and Resilience of Vulnerable Jordanian Communities and Syrian Refugees in Amman against Flash Floods” funded by the Government of Japan and implemented in collaboration with GAM, according to a UN-Habitat statement.

“We are very happy to cooperate continuously with the Greater Amman Municipality on various projects for further prosperity of Amman. I hope our assistance can reduce and mitigate flash floods damages and improve the socioeconomic resilience in vulnerable communities, and I assure that the Government of Japan will continue to provide its necessary support to enhance social stabilisation and sustainable economic development in Jordan,” said Japan’s Ambassador to Jordan, Shimazaki Kaoru.

Amman Mayor Yousef Al Shawarbeh thanked the Japanese government and UN-Habitat for their contribution and support, highlighting that “this project is a starting point towards solving the issue of flash floods and storm water drainage in Amman at larger scale”.

“This project will indirectly benefit around 35,000 people living in Downtown Amman by piloting a flood mitigation measure that can be replicated later at different areas using sustainable storm water drainage systems and green infrastructure. The project will also build the capacities of GAM staff and citizens through workshops and awareness sessions,” Shawarbeh added.

This project is in line with Jordan National Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy (2019), where flash floods were identified as the second priority with maximum hazard of all risks, and with the “Amman Climate Plan 2050” proposed actions to mitigate flood risks.

“This project is informed by this urgent need in addition to the urgency of sustaining social stabilisation in Amman,” said Erfan Ali, the regional representative for UN-Habitat regional office for Arab states.

During the workshop, UN-Habitat presented the findings of the flood risk assessment and flood hazard mapping study for Downtown Amman, prepared by Dar Al Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners) (DAR).

DAR had performed a hydrology and hydraulic modelling study for Amman area and based on the results of this study were able to identify flood hotspots within the city, and to propose short, medium, and long-term solutions for the flooding problem.

The recommended solution is an integrated set of interventions that can together control and eliminate the risk of flooding in Downtown Amman, according to the statement.

These proposed interventions include large infrastructure projects such as diverting stormwater runoff coming from parts of west Amman away from downtown area, in addition to medium and small scale sustainable drainage interventions which are ideally spread all around the city for stormwater detention and retention either above or below the ground, and also small scale storm water detention tanks to be implemented at house hold level in Amman which can help with alleviating the flooding issue and with increasing water harvesting and reuse.

“This flood risk assessment considered to have the highest resolution flood risk mapping done for Downtown Amman. Within this data driven approach, the team compiled all available data within Amman to achieve best simulation of floods generation and accumulation. It is also indicated the most vulnerable zones within the Downtown of Amman with a high accuracy. The assessment paves the way for proper disaster risk reduction programmes at GAM and related stakeholders. In addition, it provides a roadmap for developing a flood resilient city, said Deema Abu Thiab, the national programme coordinator for UN-Habitat Jordan.

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