Floods & Government Irresponsibility

Last Wednesday the grim picture of this year’s rainy season was painted by the Ghana Meteorological Services Agency (GMSA).

The picture expectedly sent fear down the spines of not only residents of low-lying areas of the nation’s capital, but others elsewhere since they too would suffer indirectly the perennial torrential rains when they do come.

Last year we took a swipe at the tendency to sweep the challenges associated with flooding under the carpet as soon as the season elapses.

We have not regretted our charge, given the total absence of any item in the national budget that seeks to manage the Accra floods.

One thing which the government is good at doing when the floods come is organising the media to accompany the President and other top officials to go and empathise with victims and make promises which would never see the light of day.

Another rainy season is here and we can bet that politicians at the helm are about to lace their boots for the usual visits to victims of floods.

President Mahama released this year’s segment of the rainy season promises during a visit to a flood scene in Accra. That would not be the end especially if the GMA forecasts come true.

This year’s situation has been worsened by the release of excess water in the Weija Dam. We have observed with interest the near banter between the State and some Ga chiefs over when to release the water. Interestingly and sadly, the excess water was released against the wishes of the chiefs anyway. The havoc that followed made the headlines.

From all indications, those living within the ambit of the Weija Dam suffered double agony because apart from the release of the water, the deluge which coincided with their situation worsened their plight.

They and others in low-lying areas have been advised to quit their locations or perish: not only would more water be released, but the rains would pour excessively. When the State posts such warning the understanding is that it cannot do anything about the repercussions of the expected flood and the release of the excess water.

For those who do not form part of the surrounding areas of the Dam yet suffer the effects of the perennial flooding in Accra, they cannot be careless about the State’s warning since, after all, besides the occasional doling of blankets and a few bowls of rice from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) when the heavens open up, they get nothing of substance from government.

Here is to call on government to be serious about development of the appropriate infrastructure and avoid politicising issues. It is the duty of the State to ensure that building regulations are adhered to by developers.

When such regulations fail to fly because of weak State institutions, it is an indictment on the government. We would fault government more than developers when the issue of construction on waterways comes up for debate.

We would hold government responsible and not reckless developers for destruction and fatalities issuing from further floods in Accra.