Amman, 22 April 2021-- In collaboration with Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), UN-Habitat recently held a workshop to launch the flood risk assessment and hazard mapping study and the proposed flood intervention as well as the outcomes of the community consultation sessions and the prioritized 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 Greater Amman Municipality (GAM). 

“We are very happy to cooperate continuously with 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 socio-economic resilience in vulnerable communities, and I assure that the Government of Japan will continue to provide its necessary support to enhance social stabilization and sustainable economic development in Jordan,” said the Ambassador of Japan to Jordan, Mr. Shimazaki Kaoru.

The  Mayor of Amman, Mr. Yousef Al Shawarbah thanked the Japan government and UN-Habitat for their  contribution and support and highlighted 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.”

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 stabilization in Amman”, said Mr. 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 modeling 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. These proposed interventions include large infrastructure projects such as diverting stormwater runoff coming from parts of west Amman away from down town 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 programs at GAM and related stakeholders. In addition, it provides a road map for developing a flood resilient city, said Deema Abu Thiab, the national Programme Coordinator for UN-Habitat Jordan.

The team also discussed the proposed pilot flood mitigation intervention that is planned to be implemented in “Jabal Al Zohour” area to reduce the risk of flash floods on downtown Amman. This intervention is based on the concept of sustainable storm water drainage systems, and consists of a bio-retention area above the and an underground stormwater detention concrete tank designed to capture and detain stormwater which allows for water utilization when needed but most importantly provides storm water detention capacity which participates in reducing the flooding risk.

Also, UN-Habitat team shared the outcomes of the community consultation sessions conducted earlier this year and presented the prioritized community-based project utilizing the CityRAP Tool, a tool developed by UN-Habitat to help local governments to progressively build the city’s urban resilience hand in hand with local communities and vulnerable groups. The regional consultant for UN-Habitat Mr. Ammar Ismail introduced CityRAP and showed how it was tailored specifically to fit the local context and to directly address the flashflood issue that Amman is facing. The results of this participatory process, as it was presented, were two initiatives prioritized by local communities and Syrian refugees namely, water harvesting systems and green pockets. Building on those two priorities, it was consensually agreed on that the pilot project should have a mix of those two approaches with certain criteria concerning the location, visibility and replicability of the project, building selection, and awareness raising in the area of intervention in order to support replication efforts for similar interventions in the future, aiming at reinforcing the impact of this project in the face of the flashflood hazard.

In Addition, UN-Habitat partner, Mercy Corps, introduced the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC) tool which will be used also in the project to measure the resilience of local communities and refugees to flash floods and which will also serve as an evidence-based document for the decision makers at GAM and key stakeholders in Amman.