Editorial: Ghana’s perennial flooding, time to act is now!
The Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, this week toured some flooded areas in Accra. This was a result of the rains that had devastating effects on most areas of the Greater Accra Region.
While sympathising with some of the flood victims in the affected areas, Mr Agyemang-Prempeh advised the people to be on the lookout for more rains in the coming days and take precautionary measures.
On the situation in northern Ghana, where the Bagre Dam spillage and continuous torrential rains caused massive flooding in some areas, the Director-General appealed to the people to be alert in order not to be caught unawares.
Mr Agyemang-Prempeh’s advice to the people living along the affected flood areas to be alert and take precautionary measures is what disgusts us at The Chronicle. When nothing has been done to minimise the impact of the flooding, then telling the people in the affected areas to be alert is like wasting your time to fetch water with a basket, because it will never get filled up.
The Chronicle is left wondering what the poor peasant farmers can do in the face of the ravaging flood waters from the Bagre Dam spillage.
For instance, during the recent Bagre Dam spillage, which also witnessed heavy downpours of rain in the North East Region, several communities along the White Volta became inaccessible. This affected the economic and social activities in the communities. Additionally, owing to unavailability of schools in some of the affected areas, access to schools in other communities was curtailed for students. Furthermore, many farmlands were submerged in the floods, leading to huge loses to about 500 famers.
Sometimes it sounds very easy in the mouth of the NADMO authorities to ask the people living along such flood-prone areas to take precautionary measures, like moving to higher dry lands. But can we, for a moment, enter the psyche and minds of these peasant farmers who have invested all their time and lives at their places of abode. Some of them have large family sizes and built properties. To such persons, a simple announcement by NADMO that they should move without the government offering them any assistance will not be feasible. Do we expect them to move their big families to go and stay with neighbours who might be staying in single room structures?
The issue of flooding is bigger than the artisan living at Odawna, or the farmer living along the White Volta being asked to just take precautionary measures. It has now become a global phenomenon which has led to loss of lives and economic damages. When the devastating effects of flood waters exceed the capacity of river channels and bursts into homes and farmlands, the decision is not for an individual only to take.
The Chronicle is, however, happy that government has planned to carry out an urgent exercise aimed at providing a long-term solution to the perennial flooding and its related destructions caused by the spillage of the Bagre Dam. The project would include the dredging of the White Volta in the upstream areas.
We also want to ask what has happened to the CONTI project that was expected to bring an end to the perennial flooding of Accra. If it has been abandoned, what is the new solution that the government wants to pursue? The time to act is now!