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Opinion | Jun 29, 2018

Is Rain In Accra A Curse?

Is Rain In Accra A Curse?

Biologically, rain is of paramount importance for the survival of living organisms. The main source of water that keeps the cycle moving. I need not enumerate the importance of water because its role in domestic, agriculture, industrialization, energy and others, cannot be underestimated. From where I come from, rain is always considered a blessing and at any point that there is draught, we see it as a curse and in some instances, the gods are appeased. I am very sure that associating rain to the blessing from God cuts across all sociocultural backgrounds. Contrary in the case of Accra, the seat of government of Ghana, rain is virtually seen as a curse because of the immeasurable destruction it brings especially in the months of June to August where it normally exhibits some anger by raining cuts and dogs. The question is, how can a commercial city like Accra where water is needed for many commercial activities become an enemy of rain?

The perennial flood in Accra has taken hundreds of lives only just in the past decade. The number of properties swallowed by the hungry rain water are quite inestimable. The reminiscence of the famous June 4th disaster that occurred in 2015 remains extremely scary and frightening. Many lives and properties were taken away. The rest of the nation became alarmed with this painful incident, blaming one another, others thinking it was some curse among other loud narrations and speculations at the time. Many of us had thought that flood would never occur in this country. The most common and loudest statement from many was “never again”.

Now the rain is here again and people are insecure. In fact, a friend told me that anytime he sees clouds gather, he has sleepless night because of the precedence of pain, agony and torture caused by flooding. The month of June remains a national security because of its famous destructions.

Apparently, we have not learnt any lessons from the past incidents. Are we really a serious nation? When watched my television only to see another deadly flood in Accra, I became mad at myself because I fail to see what mentality we have that we are virtually adamant to change even when we see the direct ramifications of bad acts.

We are the very people that continue to build on water ways anytime government undertake a demolition exercise, people bastardize the government of the day by describing it as senseless, insensitive and uncompassionate. People rain curses on the government of the day and promise to vote against them. Sadly, some politicians make political capital out of it and in some instances, politicians compromise the due process for their electoral fortunes. Basically, political gains become an ultimate desire than pragmatic steps that can save us from this deadly perennial flood. I vividly remember how the mayor of Accra, Alfred Vandapuye who was very poised at putting Accra in a better shape, to avert some of these fearful incidents, was insulted all over by victims of various demolition exercises and some political elements who were taking advantage of the situation.

I do not want to appear as a doom monger but if something radically is not done, the entire capital would be washed into the sea one day. It could be so because we are not just responsive or proactive to issues that endanger our own survival. We are all at fault.

Government continue to do little or no investment into the reengineering work in the city. The city is growing rapidly, exerting more pressure on the plains or low lands. Water ways are being blocked. This require a holistic planning and engineering of the capital city. This, we are reluctant to, yet want to invest into industrialization. We cannot have any effective economic transformation if our capital is sitting on a time bomb. Why can’t we make the planning and reengineering of the city a major priority? The perpetual lack of political will in an absolute transformation process of the city is doing us no good. It is a disservice to ourselves.

The cause of flooding in Accra and some other places is multifaceted.

Firstly, we keep treating sanitation in the cities with kid gloves. Sanitation in the cities remains a major challenge as we still see mountains of filth in the heart of town. People litter around indiscriminately and go unpunished. This indiscriminate act is contributing to this cyclical flood since most of the few constructed drainage systems, gutters and bridges are filled with waste, leaving no space to contain the high volume of water flow. The blockage of water is a common phenomenon in Accra.

The current government that demonstrated commitment at its formation stage to confront the situation has ended it up with rhetoric and platitude. Many of us thought that the creation of the sanitation ministry was going to be an antidote to this worrisome menace. Unfortunately, the ministry has so far failed to do anything innovatively to confront the situation. Our sanitation laws are either inadequate or left unimplemented. Also we have few unmotivated sanitation and environmental health officers in the system to help in educating the ignorant ones whose attitude create an inclement environment for human survival.

We have also failed to make adequate use of technology in the area of sanitation. We need to invest into recycle plants that can recycle our waste into something useful. The end product could be energy, fertilizer and other important products. This is an area we have to look into.

We need to support the training of more sanitation officers with the capacity to enforce our sanitation laws and as well, educate the public on how we could better handle related issues. Unfortunately, many sanitation officers remain unposted after completing their courses.

Collectively, let’s think straight and know that we are only risking our own lives if we keep doing the same thing that has brought this unspeakable level of uncertainty relative to safety in Accra especially during the raining season.

I vividly remember that we used to complain of inadequate water in the Akosombo Dam to generate electricity to serve our nation. It got to a time that pastors had to be assembled to pray for the electricity generating dam to be filed. Isn’t that interesting? How can the abundance of rain water become a curse then? Obviously, because we are lazy thinkers.

We are unable to construct channels that can help us harvest and bank our rain water. Listening to most engineers, I have never heard of this idea of harvesting and banking rain water, which can serve several purposes (domestic and commercial).

I think it is high time we stopped the platitudes and for once, confront this perennial situation. We must quickly see to the redesigning of water channels, how we can harvest and bank rain water for commercial purposes, stick to the plan of our city and ensure that nobody goes contrary to the laws governing our plans. Let’s also use an integrative approach if we want to stop flooding by confronting the issue of waste through technology. For me, I always insist that it is better late than never.

Denis Andaban
[email protected]

Denis Andaban
Denis Andaban, © 2018

This author has authored 100 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: DenisAndaban

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