The Festival of Floods

Festivals are the celebrations of remarkable events of the past that formed the lives of a people or peoples. It is usually the celebrations of victory over war, hunger and diseases among others. It could also be the celebration of an event when God or the gods directly manifested themselves to the people and gave them directions to success and progress.

Festivals are celebrated everywhere and Ghana is not an exception.

One festival, we as Ghanaians celebrate annually and very religiously which we should not be proud of, is the Festival of Floods.

Every year, it rains in Ghana and every year there are occasions of flooding where lives and properties are lost. Like the proverbial vulture who when beaten by the rain would say, “tomorrow, after the rains, I will build my house,” but never does, we celebrate the festival of floods by showing pictures of the carnage, condemning authority, excluding ourselves, for not putting structures in place to prevent flooding. And after the rains, business continue as usual; back to square one, as if no more floods will come.

During the Rawlings administration, serious flooding hit Ghana on two occasions, with the first cutting off the Odor basin from civilization. This, lasted days. And all Rawlings could do was to fly down in a helicopter and show he was “machoman,” and went back to old ways.

It was during the NPP administration led by H.E. J.A. Kufuor, that something very significant was done to reduce flooding. JAK constructed the Alajo storm drain which has completely reduced flooding in that flood-prone area. Unfortunately, he could not do all and as things stand the floods continue to hit hard at other areas.

Governments that followed, have done nothing significant to reduce flooding. During the NDC Mahama’s administration, he decided to desilt the Odor River, that is if that can be called a river, anyway. His very industrious brother, Ibrahim, won the contract to do the job, then hell broke loose. Because in Ghana, how can your relative be in a high position and you get awarded contract? It does not matter whether you are the best person for the job.

Some work was done, anyway, but it looked like plus celamême chose.

If I am not mistaken, there have been no major attempts made, to curtail flooding in the capital. And so, as it was in the beginning, so it continues to date, that after the slightest downpour, some major roads and areas get flooded and these become hot news, capturing the headlines.

Pictures and news, like these simply cry out that there is the need for gutters which should not only to be covered but very deep to accommodate excess water during the rains. Storm drains are also crying out to be constructed in vantage places and all flowing waterbodies, like the Odor River, must be fully desilted and transformed back to their original status, as streams and rivers, alive with fishes and other aquatic animals, living in clean waters.

It must be recalled that during the construction of the Kaneshie-Mallam Road, gutters were sealed, however, maybe due to cutting of corners for in-flow of excess cash into private pockets, these drains were just too shallow. This has resulted in them being choked causing overflowing and flooding.

What is also happening in the Accra Mall area? With new roads constructed, they still get flooded? That is just it; the roads are only new but not modern.

There is a great opportunity for Ghana to become the first nation in Africa, South of the Sahara to harvest flood waters, to be used for various purposes, like treated water and food production.

Along the Akwapim-Togo Ranges, billions of litres of water descend into the Accra Plains, during the rains, and finding no natural drains any more, the strong and angry waters cause great havoc to life and property. Building storm drains, under the hills, to collect and direct the waters into massive underground dams to be stored, and into open dams to be used for irrigation and aquaculture, should be something that must be considered. This should apply to all urban areas.

Waters from the rain that will fall directly on these areas can be directed into well-constructed drains, which will also lead to open or underground dams.

In all this, cleanliness must be made paramount. Waste disposals must be well supervised and anyone caught, man, woman or child, indiscriminately discarding waste must be punished, as a form of deterrent to others.

Most of our beaches are now refuse dumping sites, while only some 139 kilometers east of Accra, as the crow flies, very serene beaches can be found. We need not send people abroad to take courses on how to keep beaches clean. The Anlos, know how and we can be humble enough to take study-vacations and go, watch and learnfrom them,and come back to implement.

President Kufuor, started the process of riding floods off Accra. All governments after him should have continued.

It is great irresponsibility on path of the state and all of us to allow these festivals of flood to be celebrated every year. And like the proverbial vulture, every raining season, we promise to do something about drainage and flooding, but after the rains, we go back to old ways. What a shame!

Hon. Daniel Dugan

Editor’s note: Views expressed in this article do not represent that of The Chronicle


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