by Kwabena Opong

The wrath of nature was once again unleashed on Ghana’s capital Accra on Wednesday, June 3. The city of Accra was pounded by a rainstorm in what has become known as perennial flooding – caused by among others, clogged drainage systems – that began on Tuesday night. As in previous years, this year’s floods were equally disastrous and even more destructive as a gasoline filling station blew up around the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area.
Most of the major roadways in the city were flooded and rendered unsafe for driving. Several vehicles private and commercial were trapped in the deluge while several other drivers parked on pavements away from the running culverts to prevent their vehicles from being carried away by the swift floods. Vehicles parked in garages nearby were mostly under water. During the rainstorm on the night of Tuesday June 2, thieves took advantage of the situation and attacked pedestrians and some motorists who were stuck in traffic. A renowned personality who wants to remain anonymous remarked that it was one night he would never forget. “I have never been so scared for my life as this night,” he said. Reports from the regions upcountry told no different stories. Heavy rains in Kumasi, Ho and Cape Coast caused floods and destroyed property of some residents of those places. Reports from Ho indicated that several communities along the coast suffered losses in property and displaced more than 800 people. Farmlands were also submerged. In Kumasi and Cape Coast people lost their homes and property to floods that inundated their communities. The fire outbreak at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra that is believed to have been caused by thunder added another dimension to the floods this year as several people, mostly commuters, some waiting at the filling station and others taking refuge from the rains were caught in the flare up.A report in the New Statesman, however, claims that the fire may have been caused by an electricity generator at the station. The Fire Service has not confirmed any causes yet. A worker at the station who spoke on PeaceFM said he lost all his friends. “All the workers at the station are dead together with several others who were mere passersby, he lamented.
According to some victims of the flood the last time the Odaw River at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was desilted was about eight years ago. This year as in previous years the overflow of the river caused much of the floods in the area that houses transportation hubs to all parts of the nation. It is an overcrowded area with a shanty community and several markets.
The new interchange being constructed also added to the inconvenience in movement around the area, especially for motorists. Traffic build-up on the detours stanched all forms of vehicular movement escalating the effects of the fire that engulfed the Goil filling station near the GCB building.
President John Dramani Mahama declared a three-day state of mourning for the more than 200 hundred people whose bodies have been discovered in the area. The military, police and fire service personnel were deployed to search for victims and to ensure free human and vehicular movement. People have been advised to avoid moving drains.
Discussions in the media and among Ghanaians of the floods are centered mostly on the human factor in the annual debacle among other reasons. Poor enforcement of building codes as well as building along waterways and on wetlands, is it believed, are some of the major causes of floods in Accra and the other cities up-country and yet not much has been done to stop it.
Poor sanitation is also blamed. Most of the storm drains in the city have become depositories for human waste and garbage and in times like these their free flow is seriously impeded and causes floods along the banks.
The floods come at a time of the fourth World Summit of Mayors, which started on June 1 and ended on June 3. Ghanaians are questioning what qualifies Accra Mayor Alfred Oko Vanderpuije to host the conference in Accra in the face of the floods that are considered an indication of his poor management of the city.


Posted by on Jun 17 2015. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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