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We must take steps to mitigate effects of floods

BY: Daily Graphic
We must take steps to mitigate effects of floods
We must take steps to mitigate effects of floods

Natural disasters, major adverse events resulting from natural processes of the likes of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and other geologic processes, are usually not preventable and can cause loss of lives or property damage and typically leave some economic cost in their wake.

Therefore, it has been the case that while such disasters may not be preventable, their effects on the populace can be minimised through proper preparedness by state and private institutions, as well as individuals.

Ghana has experienced a number of disasters over the years, the major ones being floods which have led to many deaths and loss of properties, both private and state. It appears, however, that in spite of the consequences we have suffered, not much has been done to mitigate the effects of such floods.

Flood disasters are too many in the country to recount, as they have become yearly occurrences. We remember that in 2011 more than 30 people died nationwide in floods that occurred that year. The most recent devastating incident of flooding was at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in June 2015, in which over 150 people lost their lives.

The Daily Graphic is of the view that Ghana has experienced floods much too often and the time has come for us to put our heads together to prevent lives and properties from being swept away during floods.

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The gravity of the floods has most often been the result of the rain water’s inability to flow freely because of choked drains.

We have had the occasion to write in these columns on the need for citizens to join hands to reduce the impact of floods when they occur, but not much appears to us to have been done. The streets continue to be littered with filth which choke drains, preventing rainwater from flowing freely.

Most often, many residents see sanitation as the responsibility of the city authorities and do not care about the need to practise individual cleanliness and proper waste management.

Not too long ago, the government relaunched the cleaning Ghana campaign and went to the extent of ordering civil servants to leave their offices to clean their environment. It was the expectation that the campaign to clean Ghana would be sustained to mitigate the effect of rains but that was not to be and floods continue to take their toll anytime it rains.

Last Monday, six people, including a medical doctor, lost their lives in floods that occurred after rains in parts of the country that lasted about seven hours in Accra.

Floods are causing a lot of anguish and destruction in the country. Many people have suffered from their effects and we must not continue to behave like the vulture in Akan folklore which only speaks about building its next when it rains.

There must be continuous education on the need to keep clean environments. We also urge those in authority to prevent development in landslide and flood-prone areas to reduce the loss of lives and damage to property in the event of natural disasters.

Again, state agencies should re-engineer the planning in our communities to reduce the disruptive impact of natural disasters like flooding on communities.