Residents of Abofu, near Achimota in Accra, say they are living in fear of imminent floods as the Hydrological Services Department (HSD) has deferred to September, its intended rehabilitation of their stretch of the Odawa drain.
Their distress is hinged on the continuous dilapidation of the drain coupled with a report by the Ghana Meteorological Agency that more rains should be expected at the peak of this year’s April-May-June rainy season.
About 500 metres concrete slab stretch of the drain has caved in while the basin had dislocated, impeding free flow of the river and causing floods in the area during downpours.
The department, in July last year, indicated that it would temporarily fix the deteriorated portions before this year’s “major rainy season”, following the Ghanaian Times report of looming danger.
But with the season here, the HSD has said the decision had been rescinded because a permanent solution to the problem would be provided in September when the reconstruction of all dilapidated parts of the Odaw drain begins.
A resident, Michael Baafi told the Ghanaian Times that the problem had persisted for years, saying “We do not know when danger will struck so we beg them, if it is true that there will be more rains this year, then they should do something about it.”
Another resident who gave his name as Olu, appealed to the government to do all in its powers to mitigate the effects of the floods since it would be too late to provide relief when the disaster struck.
The Assemblyman of the Abofu-Achimota Electoral Area, James Akogo said he had drawn the attention of city authorities to the issues several times, but to no avail, adding that the situation got worse after every downpour.
Explaining the decision to defer the rehabilitation work, the Head of Drains of the Hydrological Services department, Mr Seth Kudzordzi, told the Ghanaian Times that the rehabilitation of the drains had been added to the $200 million Ghana Accra Resilient Integrated Development (GARID) Project.
Funded by the World Bank, he said the project, would among other things, mitigate flooding in the Odaw River basin through the construction and rehabilitation of drainage systems and bridges.
“If we look at the temporary work involved, it will be better to fix it once and for all because whatever will be done will be removed again at a cost. So that is why nothing has happened until now”, he said.
On concerns of imminent floods expressed by residents, Mr Kudzordzi acknowledged that a few houses could be affected but he said it would not be widespread.
“It might affect one or two houses but as it is now there is nothing we can do. We cannot go in and erect structures only to demolish them before the project takes off”, he said.
On June 4, last year, the Ghanaian Times reported the condition of the drain. Almost a year on, the situation has worsened, the erosion as a result of the dislocated slabs have inched closer to the railway nearby while more slabs have cracked.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR