Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How prepared in Kumasi for the rains

There have been times in the not-so-distant past when many areas in Kumasi did not seem like a flood-prone area but these days, a lot more neighborhoods in the city have been underwater from the slightest of rains or thunderstorms.
Last week residents were at the receiving end of yet another torrential rainfall, which caused serious damages to properties amounting to thousands of cedis, as a result of poor planning and the bad drainage system of the city.
Many people have been praying for rains to come but in a twist of fate, it looks like Kumasi was not prepared for the floods.
Last week’s rains stretched the virtually collapsed drainage system in Kumasi to its limit. It all started on Easter Monday and throughout the week, the clouds continued to gather and once again the torrential rainstorms hit the city and several other towns in the Ashanti region.
Vehicles in some affected areas such as Atonsu, Ahinsan, Airport roundabout, North Patasi were submerged in the water.
A bridge on the Adiembra-Atasemanso road was not spared as floods washed portions of it away.
In some areas, traders had their possessions swept away as a result of heavy flooding, the cause of which was attributed to choked gutters and the lack of a proper drainage system.
Some had to navigate through the flood, carrying some of their goods on their heads, in order to ferry them to safety.

At the Asafo, Bantama and Ashanti New Town communities, which boasts of a relatively good site plan and well-constructed roads and gutters, store owners displayed their goods in front of their shops convinced that they were protected from running waters from floods. They however, had a shock of their lives, when they realised that the water had filled the gutters and ran onto the main streets, carrying along valuable items.

Vehicular movement also became extremely difficult, particularly for saloon cars, which had no choice, but to park in safe places and allow the "artificially created rivers" to dry up before continuing with their journey.
Reports gathered by the Daily Graphic indicated that many drivers were forced to use alternative routes, as many roads were flooded.
Residents who live in areas highly prone to flooding were also reported to have suffered serious damages to properties, as a result of the torrential rain.
The accompanying strong winds also destroyed some properties, including billboards, while some residents had the roofs of their stores ripped off.
Along the South Suntreso - North Patasi road there was flooding on the road as well as at the Friend’s Garden junction.
With further rains forecast for the entire country the situation is not bound to get better. It therefore behoves on all to prepare for the floods.
Residents have meanwhile blamed city authorities for allocating lands on waterways to private developers, thereby preventing rivers from flowing freely anytime there is a heavy downpour.
The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), have in the past warned residents in the metropolis about the devastating effects of rains and cautioned against building on waterways.
As the rainy season draws near, there was the need to take practical steps to protect lives and property.

However it is not clear residents are adequately prepared for any eventualities as many people continue to throw litter into gutters to block free flow of water as well as continue to build on waterways.
As we look back on past years, we are being urged to think ahead in case the situation is repeated but it looks as if many people living in flood prone areas aren’t aware of the risk, and are not taking any action to prepare for such disruption and damage.
There is therefore the need to encourage people to be aware of the risks they may be facing and also to persuade people to prepare for flooding.

Flooding is a real risk. It is one we know about and one that people can do something practical about. Previous years’ floods have been described as ‘wake-up’ calls, but there are signs that the alarm bells aren’t ringing loudly enough to trigger action by many people.