Last year August, a fellow blogger published a post entitled, “ACCRA WILL FLOOD AGAIN NEXT YEAR!” Well, it’s next year, and it’s flooding. Pictures on the front page of the nation’s newpapers are congested with images of flood victims: houses and cars submerged, a man clinging to a floating tree, the young woman killed by a collapsing wall while she slept. In fact, flooding has been making headlines across the globe. We’ve looked at the pictures and we’ve watched the clips, shaking our heads as parts of Southeast Asia, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Dominica have been swept away by rivers and rising tides of muddy water. And that's just October.
|So did I mention rivers of muddy water before? Let’s amend that. |
Muddy water and rubbish.
With Accra's floods this week, there have been no formal reports of casualties by government agencies - although Ghanaians are reporting slightly higher numbers to local radio stations and newspapers. One person was reportedly electrocuted when he attempted to rescue his refrigerator from flood waters (Government officials do acknowledge that electrocution is a serious concern). A resident of a low-lying area, Adabraka, a “physically challenged” man, also is reported dead. Kwame Nkrumah circle, the major roundabout in Accra, is underwater. Cars are overturned. And again, last night, it started raining. It didn’t stop until early this morning.
How to fix this situation? Civil engineers, environmentalists and researchers in Ghana are happy to offer solutions, from the mundane to the innovative. Mandatory rain gutters on houses and other structures. Underground piping. A reliable waste disposal system and a recycling programme. And, of course, a ban on even thinking about building any more open drainage channels. I’m going to borrow this African proverb, as cited by E.B. Danquah:“The best way to eat the elephant standing in your path is to cut it up into little pieces." Right now, in the midst of severe flooding, it’s the elephant in the path - or the road - that we see first. It's enormous. The sentiments being passed around the people's table are of anger and frustration and fear. If you're sitting at the big boy's table, perhaps on that committee that was supposed to have solved Ghana's infrastructure issues, you're probably busy trying to point to another elephant into the room. It's all about distraction and deflection.
|flooded road in Accra|
I wonder if I should have used my backup title for this posting, though..."Accra Will Flood Again Next Year!"