Let me add my voice to the million Ghanaian voices in expressing my commiseration to those who have been affected by Thursday’s flood in Accra, following a torrential downpour which led to the lost of a life and destruction to properties.
There seems to be no end in sight to the perennial flooding in Accra which has become an albatross on our neck as the situation continues to be gravitating from bad to worse year after year.
Watching the devastating floods which engulfed some parts of Accra yesterday on the various television networks, I saw one distinction between the advanced countries (the land of the Oyibo) and the developing ones like my mother land Ghana, which is struggling for only God knows how many years to deal with flooding in some parts of the nation’s Capital, Accra.
The difference is that, whilst the advanced countries plan before they develop, countries like Ghana practice the reverse, thus they develop before they think of planning.
The self inflicted disaster which has become an annual ritual gives credence to the popular saying that, if you fail to plan, you definitely plan to fail.
The perennial flood disaster (disgraceful as it is in the 21st century) and its concomitant consequences in my opinion, are symptomatic of a country which is planning to fail because it is not learning any useful lessons from disasters that continue to befall it.
A problem well defined they say is half way solved. If indeed this dictum (saying) is true, then why is it difficult to find lasting solutions to the phenomenon of flooding in the nation’s capital when we are familiar with the fundamental causes of the flood?
Who in Ghana is oblivious of the fact that, during rainy season Accra is submerged in flood because of bad drainage system? Who doesn’t know that the floods in Accra can be addressed but it needs deliberate, action-oriented and implementable plan as well as commitment at every level of leadership?
You don’t need a soothsayer to proffer a prophetic solution.
If as a nation which touts itself with the accolade of a middle income status, and with all our expertise in planning, engineering, policy formulation and making laws, we cannot not solve the flood situation in some parts of Accra, then I wonder what we can fix.
It also brings into sharp focus, the caliber of experts we pride ourselves with and the usefulness of such expertise if it doesn’t contribute to solving specific problems.
Is it the case that, our so called experts and leaders are bereft with ideas and the political will to address the flooding situation or it is a clear case of not recognizing the problem as a priority and therefore undeserving of an urgent response?
The causes of the perennial flooding in Accra can be attributed to lack of or non- adherence to a lay down plan, leadership and engineering failure , poor management and disposal of waste, our attitude of building along water ways, non enforcement of our planning and sanitation laws among others.
It is sad and disappointing that, when these floods cause havoc (like the June 3 2015 one), our leaders will pretend to be so concern about our predicament and play to the gallery by ‘talking plenty, with all manner of pledges to deal with the mess.
I personally consider those pledges as knee jerk reactions to serve a certain purpose, thus to divert the public anger from being visited on the authorities responsible and also to pontificate that they care.
Do they really care? I leave it to your judgement.
For the ordinary Ghanaians who bear the brunt of these devastating floods and whose actions and attitude also contribute partly to the mess will show a certain posture of attitudinal change after every yearly disaster, but soon forget as if nothing has happened.
Surprisingly, every year after the floods have caused devastation, we go back to sleep despite the numerous pledges of resolving the menace, with little or no action, forgetting that, another rainy season will soon come.
As for our preparedness and response to some of these disasters, the least said about them the better. As a Country which is prone to annual flooding and with little commitment to correcting the fundamental causes, one expects a very robust rapid disaster management unit which is adequately resourced in terms logistics and expertise to be able to respond promptly to such disasters since it is an annual phenomenon we anticipate it to in order to say lives and properties.
Unfortunately that is not the case. We are in a country where annual flooding is inevitable and systems put in place to provide rescue service to affected persons are not adequate and not functioning as expected. Call it double Agony and you will not be far from right.
Enough of the lip service. Lets solve this mess ones and for all. It can be done. It is not a hopeless situation yet but we are making it to look like one.
1. Leadership should show the way. Back your promises with concrete actions
2. Let’s have an implementable plan for the capital
3. Demolish all houses built on water ways
4. Let’s change out attitude of how we dispose and manage waste in our communities.
5. Let’s enforce our planning and sanitation laws.
I am waiting for the day when flood in Ghana will an exception rather than a norms.
Let’s rise up and demand accountability from our leaders whilst allowing them to work without unnecessary interference of any form.
Whilst demanding accountability from our authorities, let’s embrace attitudinal change and be agents of transformation by complementing the efforts of authorities in addressing some of these societal mess.
We have only One Ghana. We can make it better.