Time to end perennial floods

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The rains have started pouring in torrents, threatening the abodes of those living in low-lying areas in Accra and other cities.

Farmers are happy because the rains will nourish the crops to give the best yields, while those living on high ground welcome the cool weather as against the heat waves that heralded the rains.

But serious jobs await us if, as a country, we are to avert the perennial flooding in Accra now that the signals show that there may be heavy rains this year.

The national disaster relief agency, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), has already warned about the possibility of heavy rains this year and the fact that the floods arising thereof are likely to displace more than two million people.

The National Co-ordinator of NADMO, Mr Kofi Portuphy, has indicated that in case the country experiences large-scale displacement of people, the relief agency will find it difficult providing humanitarian support for the victims.

Reports after two days of rains in certain parts of Accra over the weekend indicate that some residents have either been displaced by flood waters or have had their property damaged by the rain waters.

The areas mostly affected are Mallam, Gbawe and Glefe near Dansoman, a low-lying area where most developers have encroached on areas prohibited for human habitation.

It is unfortunate that the craze for property in the country has resulted in uncontrolled sale of land for the erection of all kinds of structures.

We are told that our destiny lies in our ability to grow our state institutions, so that they can enforce regulations, but, quite strangely, everybody looks on while the wrong things are done.

We recall that some time in the mid-2000s Accra city authorities earmarked many structures for demolition, including a church building near the Odaw River, but to date all those properties have not been touched.

The Daily Graphic wonders why the authorities are unable to demolish unauthorised structures but leave them to cause harm to law-abiding residents every year.

Metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives who muster the courage to bring sanity into their areas of jurisdiction, especially when it comes to decongesting and the demolition of structures, are called names by activists of the ruling parties because their actions are believed to cost votes.

Quite sad, but in our part of the globe development is never geared towards the achievement of a desired change but for political gain or expediency.

So long as that remains the ball game of political party functionaries who think their efforts put the governments in place, we have a long way to go in curing the flooding menace.

Nonetheless, the Daily Graphic calls on the district assemblies to always invoke the powers conferred on them by the laws of the land to restore order in our society, regardless of the noise from those who place political party interest above the public good.

We need courage to bring down all unauthorised structures that stand in the way of progress in Accra and elsewhere.

The Daily Graphic shall, therefore, support assemblies that initiate policies to end the perennial flooding caused by our disregard for the rules governing spatial development in the country.