Only state officials can stop flooding

A report prepared by the Office of the Auditor-General and submitted to Parliament on July 9, 2021, has it that the government invested a total of GH¢117.711 million from 2015 to 2019 for the construction and maintenance of drains and culverts in flood-prone areas in the country.

However, flooding persists as a perennial problem, with the country experiencing at least one major flood disaster every year resulting in the loss of lives and property.

The Ghanaian Times can give some examples of flooding disasters that occurred in only 2021.

For instance, on August. 21, heavy flooding in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region left an 80-year-old woman dead, over 300 people displaced and over 100 houses destroyed in 19 communities in that district.

Then on September 3, it was reported that nine more people had died in northern Ghana following series of floods there within a week.

As if these were not enough, on October 6, two hours of downpour in Accra flooded a number of its communities such as Bukom, Adabraka, Kaneshie and Ofankor.

Fortunately, no life was lost; only some property, including vehicles, suffered some damage.

The report sent to Parliament explained that flooding persists in the country because of lack of maintenance, small-sized culverts and blockage of drains.

 The Auditor General, therefore, tasked the Hydrological Services Department (HSD) of the Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH) to initiate corrective actions to control and mitigate flooding in the country.

The Auditor General’s report can be said to have left out other causes of flooding that equally deserve mention and solution.

In their acticle titled ‘The three-dimensional causes of flooding in Accra, Ghana published the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development in 2015, Clifford A and FrimpongBoamah E. sum it all up that the peculiarities of social, political and local physical conditions must not be discounted.

The Ghanaian Times agrees with the two researchers, especially with regard to the social and political conditions while commenting on the report to Parliament.

Political influence in awarding state contracts in the country cannot be discounted as the politicians running government business must play central role.

The problem is that the state apparatus, including the ministries and the district assemblies, dabbles in corruption here and there, making it difficult for any form of accountability for quality work that meets the specifications.

If nothing at all, state officials should consider the loss of life and property and the effects on flood victims, who are usually vulnerable people, and show them some compassion by doing the needful to protect them.

After all, we are in a country where affordable houses that are supposed to be provided for the poor and the middle class are hijacked by state officials and the rich.

What that means is that those living in flood-prone areas are mostly vulnerable people who need particular assistance.

That is not to say flooding does not affect others; flooding of roads and other public places affects everyone; besides, the state too suffers some cost.

The social aspect, particularly the poor attitude of the people, such as throwing rubbish into drains must also be seriously tackled with the law.

Then the government should do well to pay contractors early and make sure they do quality work that really is commensurate with the cost the state incurs on those drainage projects.

Henceforth, state officials should not sleep on the job, taking interest only in what they receive from the state as salaries and allowances and from their corrupt ways.

The Ghanaian Times believes that a change of attitude, especially among state officials by way of playing by the rules, would help to stem or reduce drastically flooding in the country.

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