Editorial: Yes, relocate the flood victims to Saglemi

In Africa, housing deficit continues to be a major problem. In Ghana, for instance, some 1.8 million houses must be constructed to solve the housing deficit, according to data on the website of the Ministry of Works and Housing. The new data on housing, which puts the national housing deficit at 1.8 million, is even a 33% reduction from the previous deficit of 2.8 million.

Research from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicates that the country’s housing deficit in the last 50 years has continuously seen an upward movement. It has, since the period, moved from 1 million to 2.8 million.

However, the 2021 Population and Housing Census data on structures, housing conditions, and facilities, as presented by the GSS, revealed a reversal in the housing deficit of 33%.

Several factors could be attributed to people not having befitting places of abode, including, but not limited to the cost of building in the country, coupled with unending land litigation.

It is, therefore, a heartbreaking situation to see people’s homes being washed away by flood waters. We are told that due to the recent spillage of the Akosombo Dam, about six communities in the Volta Region have been submerged. The very existence of the people of Battor, Tefle, Mepe, Sogakope, Adidome, and Anlo are being seriously threatened by the unyielding water from the spillage.

Reports from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) indicate that some 26,000 people have been displaced due to the spillage of water to low-lying areas downstream of the dam. It is known that economic activities in these affected areas are not so vibrant, placing those communities on the list of deprived communities in the country.

Further, it is unknown how soon the flood water will recede in the affected communities, for the people to come back to their houses, not to mention the health hazards, with cemeteries and clinics all flooded. We are, however, aware of the numerous interventions by individuals, corporate entities, Civil Society Organisations and the government for the affected people who are seeking temporary refuge in churches, schools and other designated places.

We at The Chronicle are adding our voice to the call for the houses at Saglemi to be released to these people, as a matter of emergency. Considering the number of people affected, those houses may not be adequate, but they will definitely solve part of the problem. We are not oblivious to the legal issues surrounding the project, but the situation at hand is a matter of life and death, which raises more concerns.

Regardless of the court issue, we are of the firm belief that the government can initiate processes to allow the people to occupy the facility, which is now at the mercy of harsh weather conditions. Besides, the prosecution is not praying for the court to rule for over 1,500 units to be demolished because of suspected corruption and corruption-related offences.

The Minority in Parliament, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Agency, Frank Aboagye Danyansah and a host of others have all made the call for their relocation and The Chronicle agrees 100 percent with them.

We do not intend to suggest to the government to jettison the ongoing prosecution; suffice to say that while at it, efforts must be made to put the houses at Saglemi in use, and we think that the unfortunate disaster in our hands now offers the opportunity to make good use of the project.


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