A week after a torrential rain had swept through the capital city of Accra, victims are still counting their losses and the costs involved, with several others still homeless.
For close to seven hours on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, many residents of Accra battled to save their lives and properties during the heavy downpour and an explosion at a fuel station which left in their wake about 200 people dead and properties running into several millions of Cedis destroyed.
But the aftermath of the disaster has left many wondering the readiness of government and city authorities’ ability to forestall any future occurrence.
The combined efforts of central government, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the various security agencies, corporate entities and individuals, do not seem adequate enough to salvage the several victims scattered across the city.
In spite of the usual expression of grief and sympathies by government and its agencies and the promises to assist the victims, people living in areas like Accra New Town, Alajo, Avenor, Nima, among others, which were hard hit by the floods, have complained about not receiving relief items supplied by NADMO.
So far, the organisation has not set up camps to shelter most of the homeless victims of the disaster.
Some of them who spoke to this paper said they had since been lodging with friends and relatives, wondering how long they would survive under such condition.
Others who managed to call into some radio programmes complained of neglect.
Some traders who lost their goods to the flood at the Pedestrian Shopping Mall at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle told DAILY GUIDE that they were still counting the cost involved in their losses.
But government has asked persons who were affected by the floods to register with NADMO to benefit from relief items and any other help aside the GH¢50 million package announced by the president to assist the flood victims.
So far, what government, the security and the relief agencies have been doing are unraveling the cause of the explosion at the Goil filling station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, clearing the debris, the annual ritual of distributing relief items to victims and demolishing buildings believed to be on waterways.
Meanwhile, little is being done on the need to desilt the Korle Lagoon and the Odaw River – two waterways which can contain large volumes of water from the storm drains – even though President Mahama cut the sod for work to commence on the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) before the 2012 elections – after the exit of the Kufuor administration which began the project.
Both water bodies have become an eyesore, chocked with refuse, debris from floods and other weeds.
Meanwhile, a national memorial service for victims of the June 3 flood and fire disaster is expected to be held at the forecourt of the State House.
It would bring to an end three days of national mourning declared by President John Dramani Mahama in an address to journalists after a national crisis meeting on June 4, 2015 – a day after the tragedy.
A statement from the Ministry of Communications said the memorial service would be inter-faith, inter-denominational and would involve all Ghanaians.
The statement also confirmed the change of venue from the precincts of the GOIL Service Station – where the fire disaster occurred – to the forecourt of the State House.
New NADMO Boss
Government has also appointed Brigadier General Francis Vib Sanziri as Acting National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).
A statement signed by Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, said Brigadier General Sanziri who replaces Kofi Portuphy – National Democratic Congress (NDC) national chairman – is currently the Director General, Joint Operations at the General Headquarters.
Mr Portuphy resigned in May 2015 after pressure from various organizations, including political parties and civil society groups had been mounted on him. They argued that Portuphy’s continuous stay in office as NADMO boss was a clear violation of Article 78, Section 3 of the Constitution.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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