We must be concerned with erratic rainfall

The Deputy Director and Head of Research and Applied Meteology at the Ghana Meteological Agency (GMA) was in the news last week giving some forecast of the pattern of rainfall in the country this year.

Mrs Francis Martey raised several issues that must not be allowed to die off.

On behalf of the GMA, she said rainfall for the period June to August was expected to be below average.

The public can agree that though the year is too young for any conclusion to be made, the rainfall patterns in the year calls for concern.

Already, conversations among farmers in the southern sector of the country go to the effect that some farmers have had their sprouting maize or corn drying up for lack of rain.

This is worrying because it means food crops that are planted alongside the maize would be affected too.

This has implications for food availability or shortage, not because our farmers did not work but because theirs is rain-fed farming, especially the craft of the subsistence farmers.

This is a great concern because even those doing commercial farming and using the irrigation system need the rains to fill their man-made dams and the water bodies for them to draw from these water sources.

If the experts have not thought of harvesting rain water, they should begin now.  It is one way of making maximum use of one of the resources nature has endowed us with.

The GMA, however, said there could be rainfalls within the period June to August that could result in flooding in flood-prone areas with all the devastating effects.

This is where the Ghanaian Times is again worried and wishes to ask for how long do we have to look on as floods annually waste lives and destroy property?

We need to fix the drains and also put in place systems to harvest rainwater for use later during the period of lack of rainfall.

The GMA called on the government to work closely with its agencies responsible for flood monitoring, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian aid to sensitise people to the impending dangers.

It called on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to put in the necessary measures to safeguard communities and livelihoods.

The Ghanaian Times would like to commend the Meteological Agency for playing its role by way of putting out that climate and environmentally-important information for the action of the relevant agencies, including the assemblies and NADMO.

NADMO in particular should, this time round, be proactive rather than wait for the avoidable to happen before its officials come to give mats, plastic buckets and other such items as aid to disaster (particularly flood) victims, which is ridiculous.

The Ghanaian Times thinks one important thing was missing from the GMA’s information, and this has to do with the cause or causes of the poor and erratic rainfall pattern being experienced in the country.

The paper believes environmental factors are the drivers and these include unbridled environmental degradation activities like deforestation, growth of communities, increased galamsey and chainsaw operations, removal of certain landforms in the name of sand winning and quarrying.

It is about time environmentally-negative activities are checked to save the environment and give space and freedom to nature to give us the rains and rainwater for all the benefits to derive thereof, otherwise the worse situation would arise.

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