by Fonban Emmanuel
The Cameroon Academy of Sciences on Thursday, 17 September 2020 presented research findings on floods and natural disasters in Cameroon. The public lecture took place at the conference hall of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovations and was moderated by the President of the academy, Prof. Beban Sammy Chumbow.
Present at the lecture forum, were renowned researchers from the Academy and including the Dr. David Akuro Mbah, Executive Secretary of the Academy.
Touched by the continuous devastating floods and natural disasters in Cameroon in recent times, the top-notch scholars from the Academy of Sciences saw the need to put their brains on the problems and sort out possible solutions as researchers.
The theme of the public lecture was; Natural Disasters: Floods and Landslides.
The presentations were centered on climate change and its consequences on environment and the population.
Prof. Crispin Pettang, Architect and Engineer and Director of Infrastructure at the University of Yaounde II, SOA opening the floor for presentations, discussed climate change and urbanisation pointing out the associated consequences on environment.
“Climate change impacts our environment and particularly the towns. I have observed many disasters in our country. Everybody is responsible because of the population increase in towns. It is therefore important for us to take those elements to reinvent new methods of managing our towns.” said Prof. Crispin Pettang.
He went further to talk about the effect of plastics in uttering the drainage patterns that mislead the passage of water and divert it to wrong channels.
Talking about climate change and adaptation strategies in the context of Cameroon, Prof Samuel Ayonghe, an Environmental Geologist and a Geophysicist who is also Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea explained how climate change can open doors to natural disasters.
“We see typical examples in Cameroon, especially in Douala and Limbe where we concentrated our work. Climate change is caused by solar radiations that comes onto the earth surface and these radiations are absorbed by what we call greenhouse gases and the solar radiation cannot get back and it keeps the globe warm and warmer than it should be. This leads to the evaporation of more water from the occasions into the atmosphere which forms clouds that brings rain. This brings and increase in rainfall.” Said Prof. Samuel, the Deputy V.C of the University of Buea.
He lauded the efforts of the Observatory for Climate Change, but complained they do not have the means and the man power to implement their knowhow. To Prof. Samuel, it is important for the Cameroon to have an institute for disaster risk reduction which can be technically equipped to anticipate disasters based on scientific studies and devise better ways to manage them.
On his part, the President of the Academy, Prof. Sammy B. Chumbow said the objective of the academy is generate and leverage knowledge that is available, and make it accessible to the public and to policy makers.
“We thought it necessary to put together the knowledge that we have and we have been generating knowledge and looking at this problem since 1995, the Academy of Sciences has held a number of workshops and seminars to look at the situation and even make predictions” said the President of the Academy.
He followed that the National Observatory on Climate Change came as a recommendation of the Academy 15years ago. Prof. Sammy believes that since we live in an era where knowledge is needed to make informed decisions, it is for this reason the Academy mobilises to hunt resourceful knowledge that can help decision makers in Cameroon.
Another presentation was on Climate Change and Health, which was done by Prof. Joseph Kamgno, Head of Department in Charge of Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the University of Yaounde I.
The excellent presentations were resourceful though the participation of stakeholders was limited. The program could be scored successful as the researchers did their best to research on environmental problems and devise possible solutions.