29
Mon, May

Avoiding perennial floods

Recent rains have already left widespread destruction in their trail and caused so much pain to people.

The rains are here and sooner than later residents of all major cities, especially Accra, will send SOS messages to the government for humanitarian relief.

This is because as a people we have never been prepared to alleviate the suffering of the people in the event of any man-made or natural disaster.

When the June 3, 2015 fire and flood disaster rocked Accra, we were ill-prepared to deal with the humanitarian crisis that emerged.

We are not referring to our actions and inaction that led to the tragedy which claimed the lives of more than 150 workers. We are referring to the way the victims were handled.

The bodies were thrown into trucks as if we did not have any organisation in place to deal with the situation and we exposed ourselves to international ridicule.

Already, we are receiving appeals from Ghanaians across the country, calling on the government to repair their roofs which were ripped off by rainstorms.

In an era when the national relief organisation, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), is cash-strapped, one can imagine the plight of people in need of humanitarian relief during this year’s rainy season and beyond.

Recent rains have already left widespread destruction in their trail and caused so much pain to people.

We recall last week’s powerful lightning that affected power supply to every part of the country, for which reason for almost 24 hours most Ghanaians slept in darkness, with no information at all on strategic plans to ameliorate the effects of the blackout.

We do not need rocket science to tell us that the country is ill-prepared for any natural disaster.

For many years, we have been told of massive efforts at de-silting drains in Accra to absorb any floods that may result from  downpours.

Even with these assurances, Accra has always experienced floods every rainy season, resulting in the loss of lives and properties.

Nobody can predict what will happen in the coming days when the rains pour in torrents because the Odaw drain is still choked with silt and plastic waste, while promises to construct major storm drains remain a pipe dream.

The anxiety and fear of Accra residents can be measured by the speed with which they run home when clouds begin to form. Up to today, the behaviour of residents is like the aftermath of the June 3, 2015 disaster when the sound of thunder meant that office work must come to an end.

The Daily Graphic thinks that we have not learnt any lessons from the tragedy of June 3, 2015 to galvanise us to put in place the necessary strictures to deal with the situation in Accra and other flood-prone areas in the country.

Although the rains are here, it is not too late to put in place emergency measures to forestall flooding, with its attendant challenges, to erase the perception that we always procrastinate.

All is not lost yet, though, but it will take decisive action now to dredge all water channels in Accra in readiness for the rains in the next few weeks.

 

We cannot afford the effects of any disaster this year. June 3 is less than a month away and the pain of the twin disaster two years ago should put us on red alert to avert a repetition.