OPANA WRITES: You either swim or you get drowned!

By OPANA

Flooding, in the past decades, has become a global pandemic, which hampers economic and social development. 

This global phenomenon has led to loss of lives and properties in many countries including Ghana, especially in the big cities where the population and human activities are quite high. Key cities in Ghana particularly Accra, Kumasi, Tema, Takoradi, Sunyani, among others have had to suffer major destruction, loss of lives and properties as a result of the perennial flooding.

 Two years ago, precisely June 3, 2015, Accra, the nation’s capital experienced an unprecedented disaster caused by flooding coupled with an explosion at Fuel filling station that resulted in a death toll of over 152 people. This disaster once again exposed our lack of willingness or if I should say unserious attitude towards finding a once and for all solution to the recurring flood situation whenever the rains come. As usual government at its best set up committee which investigated nothing and found nothing, hence till now Ghanaians have been told nothing about that disaster.

Ghana experiencing flooding as I mentioned earlier is nothing new, however the intensity of recent years’ flooding is increasingly becoming scarier as with earlier years, the flooding occurred in residential areas and some parts of the commercial and industrial areas. But lately, even our roads are getting flooded to the extent of posing danger to road users. Clearly, one cannot stay in his room if you lived in a flood prone area, neither can you stay in your office, especially if your office is sited around the South Industrial area or located closer to a fuel filling station. Whereas you cannot stay at home or office, you are not safe to be on the road either.

Major roads leading to various parts of the capital are flooded with just about 20 to minutes of heavy rain; the liberation road towards legon start flooding from 37 Military Hospital, then the Shangrila part towards Tetteh-Quarshie and Shiashie part towards the Okponglo traffic light. The Accra-Tema motorway is no exception then to the Kpone police barrier all the way towards Tema Community 25, Dowenya-Prampram road. The beach road is not left out, from La towards Teshie along the Kpeshie Lagoon area is another dangerous place to be driving whenever it rains.

Areas around Accra’s drainage basins namely Kpeshie, Korle, Densu, Sakumo, Lafa, Osu, Songo Mokwe and Chemu trigger floods anytime it rains continuously for some few hours. The moment the clouds are form and it begin to drizzle and signifying rainfall, residents in areas such as Kaneshie, Dansoman, Weija, Old Barrier, Okponglo, Shiashie and Teshie areas then begin to wonder what would happen to them.

It is no longer news to hear loss of lives and properties any time it rains and obviously leadership in the country has become immune to wailing and lamentations of the people. It has become annual ritual that authorities at the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and other government officials would visit these flood prone areas moments after rains and present few relief items (few blankets, student mattresses and some few bags of sachet water) to the victims and that would be all. To add salt to injury you may find the President and some Ministers flying in Helicopter over the city [I don’t even know if it is for sightseeing or to confirm what they know already] and then the hypocritical speeches will follow with pretenses as if they care.

These things have gone on for decades and as a result, the entire nation, especially Accra, is gradually becoming unsafe for residents. Mud and filth takeover the streets after the flood then followed by cholera epidemic.

Various factors including the lack of city planning, inappropriate siting of structures and building in water ways, indiscriminate disposal of rubbish in gutters and drainage. Other factors include our city authorities refusing to desilt the major drainage basins, constructing drainage along the roads and more importantly enforcing building and town planning laws and being proactive with planning new residential areas well ahead before construction in those area begin.

The rains will come every year and we must conduct ourselves properly. it is not as if the rains take us by surprise. It is more an issue of not doing the right things and not putting the right measures in place avert the consequences of the heavy rains. I will not say we should stop disposing rubbish in gutters and drainage. I will not say we should stop building in water ways. I will not repeat the usual rhetoric. No, I will not, because they are mundane and by common sense we should know.

However, I will say, the government and our city authorities should wake up from their backsides and do their work. They must save us from the unnecessary loss of lives and properties.

Me, OPANA, I want to say that until the right things are done and government and our city authorities deem it fit to solve the flooding situation in Ghana, you either swim or get drowned.

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