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21.02.2009 Regional News

Heavy rains expose poor drainage in Kumasi

By The Chronicle

Residents of Kumasi were once again at the receiving end of yet another torrential rainfall, which caused serious damages to properties amounting to thousands of cedis, as a result of poor planning and the bad drainage system of the regional capital.

Some traders at the Central Market, Ash-Town and Alabar, had their possessions swept away as a result of heavy flooding, the cause of which has been attributed to choked gutters and the lack of a proper drainage system.

At the main Central Market, affected market women had to navigate through the flood, carrying some of their goods on their heads, in order to ferry them to safety.

At the Ashanti New Town community, which boasts of a relatively good site plan and well-constructed roads and gutters, store owners displayed their goods in front of their shops convinced that they were protected from running waters from floods. They however, had a shock of their lives, when they realized that the water had filled the gutters and ran onto the main streets, carrying along valuable items.

Vehicular movement also became extremely difficult, particularly for saloon cars, which had no choice, but to park in safe places and allow the "artificially created rivers" to dry up before continuing with their journey.

Reports gathered by The Chronicle indicate that drivers who ply the Kejetia-Buokrom road, were forced to use an alternative route, as the Airport roundabout area was flooded. This area is flood-prone, and becomes unmotorable at the least rainfall.

Residents who live in areas highly prone to flooding are also reported to have suffered serious damages to properties, as a result of the torrential rain.

The accompanying strong winds also destroyed some properties, including billboards, while some residents had the roofs of their stores ripped off.

Along the Tafo cemetery road, a giant billboard, which portrays the picture of President John Evans Atta Mills, was badly damaged.

Residents have meanwhile blamed the city authorities for allocating lands on waterways to private developers, thereby preventing rivers from flowing freely anytime there is a heavy downpour.

The incident, however, confirms reports issued by officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), warning residents in the metropolis about the devastating effects of rains in the month of February.

The Ashanti Regional Secretariat of NADMO, last Saturday cautioned residents of the Kumasi Metropolis to take practical steps to protect lives and property, as the rainy season draws near.

The organisation claimed to have received information from the Meteorological Department, that residents could have continuous rainfall with strong winds, which could wreck havoc.

It is however not clear, whether residents are adequately prepared for the eventualities.