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Lip service won’t deal with Accra floods

BY: Daily Graphic

The rains have started in earnest and, once again, the nation has been caught reeling from floods.

From all indications, we are just not yet ready for the rains.

Since April, there have been about four cases of flooding in some parts of the Greater Accra Region alone, with three of them recording deaths.

On April 14, seven bodies were retrieved from flood waters at different parts of the capital following heavy rains.

The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) said four of the seven bodies were recovered from flood waters at Adjei-Kojo, near Ashaiman, with the rest recovered from different locations.

On May 21, two persons were reported dead during flooding in some parts of the region following a downpour.

The downpour also flooded the newly constructed Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

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Last Wednesday’s heavy downpour did not provide the nation any breather, as it once again plunged the capital under water and also nearly claimed the life of a man believed to be in his 50s.

The afternoon rain, which started about 1:30 p.m. and lasted about four hours, flooded many parts of the capital city.

Some pedestrians and drivers were left stranded as a result, since the rain left some roads in the city unmotorable.

Areas affected included Adabraka, a flood-prone suburb of Accra; Madina Yellow Signboard, Mana Lake, Abokobi; the Movenpick Hotel area, Club 10, Kanda; Agbogba Warehouse, Adenta Barrier, Kaneshie First Light, American House at East Legon and Pantang.

Others were Adjiringano, Asylum Down/Iran Clinic, Teshie Bush road, Nanakrom, Ashalley Botwe Junction; Ghana Shippers House, Opposite Fidelity Bank; Kasoa Market, New Achimota Pentecost Church Area, Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle, Abossey Okai, Gbawe, Okponglo, Madina and the North Legon Hospital.

At Redco Flats in Madina, a building is said to have collapsed, while at the Dzorwulu Junction, a man trapped in a vehicle was rescued by a NADMO team.

Kisseman, Santa Maria Ebenezer Junction and Tema Community 18 were some of the other areas that got flooded.

Many have attributed the perennial occurrence to the siting of structures on water courses and the blocking of drainage systems, a situation that forces rushing flood waters onto the streets and into homes.

The Korle Lagoon is yet to be comprehensively de-silted, making it choked and susceptible to overflowing.

It would be recalled that when the nation was confronted with the June 3, 2015 twin disaster of floods and fires, some steps were taken by the authorities to remove structures dotted along river banks. Today, the demolished structures are back in full force, while the local authorities, including NADMO, as well as the Ministry of Works and Housing, look on helplessly.

As a nation, we have not made any concrete effort to find lasting remedies to the flood situation in Accra, for which reason we are still faced with this annual ritual of floods any time it rains, resulting in deaths, injuries and loss of properties.

Sadly, we are quick at making reference to Rwanda and its orderliness, but the truth is that Rwanda’s tidiness can be attributed to the kind of governance practised there, with state authorities working to ensure order and absolute rule of law.

Naturally, we expect the rains to come, but like the proverbial vulture, we keep on postponing what needs to be done to avert flooding or minimise its impact on society.

No wonder there is always a sense of fear among the citizenry any time it threatens to rain.

Without mincing words, we want to say that it has taken too long for the country to find permanent remedies to the flooding issue. We also do not have effective waste management policies, while the enforcement of by-laws is non-existent or, at best, weak.

The truth of the matter is that lip service will not make Accra become the cleanest city in Africa.

It is hard work and purposeful planning that can, so that, progressively, we can attain the vision set for us by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

If we continue to fail in the enforcement of the by-laws, then effective management of the city, including clearing the storm drains to facilitate the smooth flow of rain water, will remain elusive.

The laws must be enforced to prevent people from doing the wrong things.