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15.04.2008 Feature Article

Here come the rains again

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Sleeping inside one's room at night has in recent times become very uncomfortable due to the harsh hot weather conditions the Country had been experiencing in recent times. The temptation for many was to spend the night on verandahs outside their rooms had become so high. Yielding to this temptation of sleeping outside could put one in all sorts of trouble especially with the presence of two enemies of man's sound sleep, the mosquito and the robber.

It was indeed with relief that most people greeted the onset of the rains to at least cool down the temperature. Rainfall is priceless. Indeed a favourable rainfall pattern is a recipe for abundant food supply and water security for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes.

Unfortunately when there is a period of torrential rainfall, it has its own attendant problems. Heavy rainfall could even be a bad omen for the farmer who may have prayed for a favourable rainfall for his crop. This is because; rainfall which comes with strong winds can sometimes lead to destruction of food crops.

Other key problems associated with the rainy season are destruction of property and sometimes loss of lives. Although the rainy season is still young the havoc that has occurred in places such as Nsoatre in the Brong Ahafo Region where over 200 buildings including the Nsoatre Health centers have been ripped off is worthy to ponder over.

The perennial flooding which very often leaves in its trails homelessness and destruction of property as well as ailments such as cholera and malaria associated with flooding, can also not escape mentioning when enumerating some of the repercussions associated with the advent of the rains. As a resident of Odawkaw in Accra many years ago I had a bitter encounter with flood when I came home from work to see the rooms where I used to stay taken over by flood after a downpour. I had to spend the night with a friend. After that day I spent several weeks battling with putting my home in order. The numerous valuable documents that had been messed up by the flood cannot be imagined.

If the forecast given by weather experts on the likely intensity of rainfall in Ghana this year as a result of global climatic changes is any thing to go by then we owe it a duty as a Nation to manage the rainy period.

Although some efforts have been made in the past specifically tailored at tackling this problem it is obvious that this perennial problem of flooding is still not a thing of the past.

It is unfortunate that we have time and time again behaved like the proverbial vulture who always remembers the need to put his house in order only when he is under the mercy of rainstorms but shelves this prudent idea when the rainy is over.

One fundamental reason behind flooding during the rainy season is the building of structures along water ways that impede water flow.

Our poor drainage system and mismanagement of waste can also not escape mentioning as a major cause of flooding. Flooding is further aggravated by improper garbage disposal and the earlier that pragmatic ways of managing waste is found the better it will be for us at arriving at a solution to this perennial flooding problem.
The Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies as well as the Town and Country Planning Department will have to take stringent measures to get rid of all unauthorized structures built especially on water ways.

To ensure that our drainage systems are always clear to transport rain water freely the desilting of drains as part of clean up exercises in our communities should be done on a regular basis.

Another long term measure which ought to be considered is the needs to recycle our plastic waste since recent findings have it those plastics which are the prime cause of choked drains facilitate flooding a great deal.

The Media, the Information Service Department the National Commission on Civic Education and all other stakeholders should endeavour to embark on a campaign on sanitation and educate people on the need not to dump refuse in gutters and other unapproved places.

In addition rain water harvesting should also be given a serious thought as a strategy for curbing the excess water that facilitates flooding. Planting of trees to serve as wind brakes has always been a great remedy towards guarding against destruction of property during rainy season and should indeed be revived.

The Public Works Department the Town and Country planning Department and the building Inspectorate Committee would also do the nation a great deal of service by ensuring that people do not build on water course for the sake of getting roofs over their head. The Rain like fire can be a good servant but when not well managed can be a bad master.

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2008

The author has 1023 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GhanaianChronicle

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