Fire-fighting strategies will fail

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Flooding can occur as a natural consequence of heavy downpours, but by littering every open space with waste, we make it difficult for our rivers and streams to flow smoothly into the sea.

It is unfortunate that during every rainy season lives are lost to floods in several parts of the country.

On some of these occasions, not only lives are lost; businesses located near major streams are inundated with flood waters, bringing financial loss to those entities and individuals who rely on them for services.

The Daily Graphic has said time and again that certain things are not being done according to laid down regulations and the bye-laws of statutory bodies such as the district assemblies, the Lands Commission and the Town and Country Planning Department.

We recall a few years ago when the government took action to demolish structures on water courses in the Lafa Basin in the Anyaa and Sowutuom areas but the action had to be halted because landlords took the district assembly to court.

A survey done about a decade ago established that certain houses, including a church building, have been constructed very close to the Odaw stream and were earmarked for demolition. But as we write this piece those structures are still in place.

Although we reckon that our actions and inaction are causing this nation a lot of pain and losses, we are unable to take the necessary steps to avert disaster.

The rainy season is just a few weeks away but many of the open drains and streams in our cities are choked with all kinds of garbage.

It has been announced that in Accra, for instance, the waste management company, Zoomlion, and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) are preparing to de-silt the choked gutters, but we think that initiative must be speeded up if we are to avert a looming disaster.

The Daily Graphic expresses its pain at the loss of four lives to floods in Kumasi last Wednesday following a heavy downpour there.

The reports said two of the deceased, who were siblings identified as Gloria Darkwa, eight, and Maame Adwoa, two, were swept away by flood waters at Asuoyeboah, a suburb of Kumasi, after the River Abonsua, which had overflowed its banks, entered their residence.

The other two, identified as Emmanuel Boateng, 31, and Jessica Oppong, seven, drowned when they attempted to cross the Akos stream which had overflowed its banks at Adoato-Kokoso.

It is good to hear that the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinating Council has announced plans to demolish all unauthorised structures on water courses.

But the question is, how soon?

The tragedy of our circumstances is that we tend to adopt fire-fighting methods to resolve our challenges and by so doing we are unable to implement well-planned strategies to provide the needs of the people.

We will give the authorities in Kumasi the benefit of the doubt, but we hope the officials will be bold enough to ward off any political pressure and go ahead to demolish unauthorised structures.

The Daily Graphic welcomes the new Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Kojo Bonsu, to the hot seat and urges him to muster the political will to deal with the challenge of building houses on water courses.

In the meantime, the Daily Graphic extends its condolences to the bereaved families and wish that the Almighty God would give them enough strength to cope with the pain and the loss.

Let our grief translate into action to prevent the perennial flooding, so that we can put an end to the needless deaths.