In the previous episodes, I attempted to tackle some of the issues boggling the minds most Ghanaians and tried to give certain solutions to those trending issues. Today, on My Desk I will discuss the challenge that the Accra floods is posing on our economy and how we can resolve the problem through dialogue and an innovative approach. I am of the firm believe that everything that has a challenge definitely has solutions, therefore, tango with me as I draw your attention to some matters arising. Go back and read the previous post. Then come back and keep reading to catch a glimpse of a different perspective on the flood situation right here in Accra.
Who I Go Ask?
This issue has been on the forefront of media discussions since the past decade, and yet no one seems to have a possible solution to end the menace. The issue of flooding in the country’s capital is one which has been on people’s lips even after the June 3 disaster. Yetstill, here we go again this year. With cars and properties been washed away by the floods, one may wonder what has really gone wrong with our National Disaster Management programme. Anytime I think about the matter, Nigerian musician Omawumi comes to mind. Her song titled, ‘If You Ask Me’ plays repeatedly in my head. As the song goes, “If you ask me, Na who I go ask?”.
At this point, I cannot overemphasize the importance of town planning in the country’s capital city. The issue of building over drainages and overlooking the problem until there is a downpour is rather alarming. Why wait until the problem escalates before finding lasting solutions to them? I remember when the Nkrumah Circle overpass was being constructed along the old fountain area which was once spotted at the place. Several people complained about the development and yet the authorities turned deaf ear.
Most major drainages were blocked to pave way for the new road construction and months after its completion, we all saw the major effects of the blockages. I can say that it partially led to the June 3 disaster because there were little passage areas for the rains to pass through. I believe that part of the problem will be solved if major drainages are opened up to make way for water to pass whenever there is a downpour.
I understand that some buildings are on waterways which causes blockade whenever the rains come down. Media panelists have suggested that such buildings be collapsed so that the rains can flow freely to avoid flooding. That is a brilliant idea. However, let us not forget that some of these property owners were given the leeway to construct their buildings by the same authorities who come out to suggest their buildings should be collapsed.
How do you collapse buildings which are somewhat properties of these same authorities? Some of these buildings are being commercialized as shops, apartments, filling stations, and what have you. Therefore, suggesting that they should be collapsed is suggesting that people’s daily breads should be taken away from them. And in such cases, it is going to be difficult to simply come to terms with taking any drastic measures.
The last time I experienced having our room flooded was when I was somewhere around age four. We had to be up all dawn rearranging the things in the room and placing them on heights that the water could not reach. Our carpets and electrical gadgets were all drenched in water. It was one of the few memories which I dread till this day although I was fairly young.
During the recent floods, I was outside Accra but one interesting image which caught my attention on the internet was that of a flooded apartment of a Reuters correspondent in Ghana named Cooper Inveen. I was besides myself with laughter because I am sure that was not an experience he may have had in his home country. Akwaaba (Welcome) Mr Cooper Inveen.
At this point, let the innovators be innovators and let us, the spectators, be spectators. You know what, we are tired of the talk. Even if we talk and there is no solution, we will be back next year talking about this same issue. Hopefully, those who have been paid to do the work which will stop this menace will go to the drawing board and fix the problem. Even if we give them 99 solutions to the problem, it will take action to see a change whatsoever.
And so from where I sit, which is My Desk, I can only wish the people of Accra well and hope that everybody is safe when the rains come down. And when you say a prayer, I hope you say one for those who have no place to call their homes.
PS: Subscribe to the blog to read more of these mind boggling articles that I will be sharing with you all.