Opinion: Who are we to blame for the flood disasters in Ghana?

Flooding in Accra is a perennial occurrence that successive governments have not been able to find a solution to.

Accra floods

Flooding and intense droughts could become a common phenomenon in Ghana due to climate hazards.

Ghana hasn't made any serious arrangements in the event of a flood.

Improper city planning, combined with overpopulation, buildings on waterways, and dumping of refuse into drainages, among other factors, cause the devastation that the city and its dwellers suffer during the rainy seasons.

Ghana's sanitation challenges continue to worsen over the years and there is, therefore, the need to develop and execute a comprehensive and aggressive strategy to address the situation.

Structures have been built on waterways, blocking the water flow. Drainage and sewage systems across the city are primitive and easily overflow.

A lack of public trash bins also means that litter is often discarded without care, further choking the gutters and blocking the flow of the water.

Poor sanitation and filth will continue to remain a societal canker as long as the government and other civil society organizations as a matter of fact have deliberately ignored the efforts and work of health inspectors.

For years, there has been talking of the government working with development partners to install a proper drainage system that would collect the rubbish that clogs the city's streets, gutters, and beaches.

Some of the causes of flooding in urban centres in Ghana are poor planning of towns and cities, poor drainage systems, improper disposal of refuse, silting and choking of drains, improper enforcement of laws on building construction and sanitation, and low and flatlands.

Flooding also results in the destruction of buildings and vehicles, rendering a lot of people homeless.

The floods expose communities to health risks and food shortages.

What do these stories tell us about the relationship between poverty and flood risk in Accra?

The risk of climate-related disasters worldwide is growing, especially in developing regions.

To build local resilience, disaster management experts and policymakers must make community participation the core element of risk communication to the public.

After every flood, the country’s national disaster management organisation – along with the military, police, and other emergency personnel – is deployed for rescue and emergency relief.

The government then repairs damaged infrastructure, clears waterways, and demolishes properties built close to drainage channels.

The problem is this doesn’t deal with the underlying causes of the floods or prepare people for them. Money that could go towards future prevention is instead spent on perpetual cycles of recovery.

It's time Ghanaians change attitude towards sanitation to keep Ghana clean and avoid the perennial floods.

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