Let’s join hands to avoid floods

BY: Daily Graphic

In June, 2015, Accra experienced continuous heavy rainfall that resulted in one of the biggest floods the capital had experienced in years. The floods and a fire at the GOIL Fuel Station resulted in the death of over 200 people and damage to properties running into millions of Ghana cedis.

A glance at the history of flooding in the country indicates that the it has been recurring over the years. Indeed, since time immemorial, there has not been any period during the rainy season that Ghana has not experienced some form of flooding.

But, like the vulture in Akan folklore, the government and state officials always come out after the rains to speak about steps to be taken to forestall the floods in the next season, only for parts of the country to be flooded again in the next season.

The Daily Graphic is of the view that the time has come for a more permanent solution to be found to the perennial flooding. The rains that came early last week exposed how unprepared we are this year too for the rains.

As a country, we are not oblivious to the factors that cause floods in the country.

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Apart from inadequate drains, our waste management practices have been one of the major reasons rain water cannot flow freely, resulting in drainage systems spilling over to during rainstorms.

Moreover, the inadequate capacity of some critical culverts and the obstruction of water courses by buildings, usually put up by influential people in our communities, have been a major source of worry to successive governments.

We are aware that a number of storm drains were started in Accra to solve the problem. While some were completed, others are yet to be completed, leaving the capital at the mercy of the rains.

That is why we welcome the news that the Cabinet has approved a comprehensive national project to deal with floods in the country.

The Works and Housing Minister, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, told journalists during a tour of flood-prone areas yesterday that contract details had been completed for presentation to Parliament for approval.

The World Bank, the minister said, had agreed to support the project with a $100 million loan facility which the government was considering.

While we see this as a long-term solution, the benefits of which will not accrue immediately, we urge state institutions and agencies, as well as private individuals, to join in efforts at clearing existing drains of silt to allow the free flow of water during the rains.

The government, for its part, has allocated about $17 million to fund interim interventions to minimise the impact of flooding ahead of the rainy season and it is our fervent hope that the amount will be applied appropriately.

We see that some effort is being made by state agencies to clear some drains of silt. We urge the agencies involved in the exercise to clear the silt from the shoulders of the drains with dispatch to avoid it being washed back into the drains.

We again urge residents to cooperate with the assemblies to keep clean environments through proper waste management practices to save our communities from floods.

Ghana has experienced floods too often and it is time to put our hands together to prevent lives and properties from being swept away by floods.