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Ministry of Works to acquire system to monitor flood

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
Francis Asenso-Boakye (right), Minister of Works and Housing, addressing journalists
Francis Asenso-Boakye (right), Minister of Works and Housing, addressing journalists

As part of efforts to deal with flooding in Accra, the Ministry of Works and Housing will acquire a Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) that will provide advance notice of impending flooding for the protection of vulnerable communities.

The sector Minister, Francis Asenso-Boakye, disclosed that the designs for the system had been completed and that the ministry was in the process of engaging a service provider to deliver it.

The minister, who was speaking at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, explained that "with the early warning system, people in vulnerable communities will have the benefit of advance notice of flooding so that they can take steps to protect their lives and their valuables".

He said the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) project was being implemented in collaboration with the World Bank, with the objective of mitigating flood risk and addressing the solid waste management challenges in the Odaw Drainage Basin.

The press briefing was for the ministry to update Ghanaians on the key developments and achievements within the works and housing sector of the economy by highlighting some of the key activities and achievements in the Drainage and Flood Management Programme, Coastal Protection Programme (Sea defence), and Affordable and District Housing programmes.

The minister said over the past four years, investment in flood control measures under the 2018 and 2020 National Flood Control Programme (NFCP) had been the highest, with the government committing about GH¢450 million to deal with the menace.

Completed drains

Through the programme, the minister said, 35km of drains had been completed, while over 1,000km of drains had been excavated, re-channeled and maintained across the country towards reducing the devastating perennial floods.

He said communities that had benefitted from the programme included Kuntunse Satellite, Achimota Mile 7, Katamanso, Mamprobi, Abeka-Ayigbe Town, Labadi Olympia, Tse-Addo, Teshie Yoomo Specs, Nungua (United Church Area), Haatso, among others.

Mr Asenso-Boakye said notwithstanding the significant gains in minimising the flood risk in those areas, flooding remained one of the most threatening disasters confronting cities across the country

He said his outfit would continue to engage the Ministry of Finance to secure additional funding for the 2022 NFCP.

He further announced that the construction of retention ponds in the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission area to hold large volumes of water, which would have otherwise flowed towards the city centre to cause flooding, would commence by the end of the year.

Again, he said, the proposed Ghana Hydrological Authority Bill was before Parliament for consideration and approval to ensure effective flood mitigation and management.

Coastal areas, the minister noted, had remained vulnerable to coastal erosion, with that risk being exacerbated by the potential rise in sea level.

He said the second phase of the Blekusu Coastal Protection Project to address devastating effects of tidal waves at areas such as Solakope, Agavedzi and Amutinu in the Volta Region remained a priority of the government.

Affordable housing projects

On affordable housing projects, he said the government was committed to completing the Saglemi Affordable Housing Project.

The minister, who said it was early days yet to give timelines on when the project would be completed, said the government was currently reviewing various options towards the completion of the project.

The country, he said, had marginally reduced its housing deficit from two million units to 1.8 million units, but the housing delivery system had failed to meet the needs of the low-to-middle income group.

To address the challenge, he said, the ministry was engaging with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Lands Commission to acquire 403 acres of land for two pilot affordable housing schemes at Pokuase/Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region and Dedesua in the Ashanti Region.

Rent Act

The Cabinet, he said, had given policy approval for the review of the Rent Act, 1963 (Act 220) and the Rent Control Law, 1986 (PNDCL 138).

The ministry, he said, in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, had drafted the Rent Bill, 2022, and that active stakeholder engagements had commenced to that effect.