Feature: AMA’s efforts at flood control PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 06 August 2010 17:19

According to land experts, most parts of Accra lie in a lowland area and disposition can easily be flooded with an average rainfall.  This means that the problem of flooding in the city of Accra can be compounded when structures are built on waterways coupled with choked gutters.

On this premise, several city experts have decried the haphazard way in which structures are put up in the city and warned of a massive destruction of properties and loss of lives if nothing was done about the situation.  Among the flood prone areas are Sakaman, Kamara Down, Atico Bridge, Abolo-Junction, Mataheko, Atico Junction, Kaneshie Lorry  Station Areas, Portions of East Legon, Zamariama Line, Banana Inn, Abelenkpe, some parts of Dcorwulu, Sukula, Russia, Bawaleshe Airport Residential and Roman Ridge.

What has always been of concern is the removal of structures on waterways and construction of storm drains to direct the flow of running water.  So what was needed to be done as city authorities? Mapping out of Strategy, backed by full commitment to ensure that the work was done to either eliminate or minimize the perennial flooding situation in the city.

 

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly, led by the Chief executive, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, held many meetings on the issue to take tough and critical decisions.

I remember vividly in our final meeting, when the Mayor asked “who is the demolition commander and he could stand his grounds?’.  The Mayor’s question did not suggest that he was oblivious of who the Commander was but rather to quiz him for his full commitment or perhaps give him a chance, if wanted to step aside.

In the end the Major opted to go side by side with the commander into the field.  At this point it became clearer, to everyone at the meeting that work was going to be done.  Now with this full blast of encouragement, the AMA started its sensitization programme and served reminder notices, some of which were given seven months in advance, and another week’s reminder notice.

Now it has to be explained here that people who put up structures on waterways need not more than three days notice to remove their structure at their own cost.  But at least we spared them the removal cost.

When we were fully convinced of the depth of public education, we got our security (just in case…….) and bullodzers ready for action.  Our first point of call was at Kamara down where the demolition was greeted with applause from residents to the extent that someone who had planned to take the AMA to court told the Major he was not going to take that action again.

Several media houses, during their interview with the people, were happy to hear what the people said about the need for the exercise.

Just as the AMA though it were riding on cloud 7, suddenly the team came under serious attacks and vilification in its subsequent exercises.  But when there is a Mayor who loves his job and is prepared to get the right thing done, then you can be rest assured that the job will be executed.

The Mayor, drawing his inner strength from the unprecedented support from his employers and the approval for the exercise by the General Assembly of the AMA, urged the team to remain focused.

The exercise dubbed, “Removal for development” saw the quick demolition of structures, conveyance of debris and construction of storm drains at great financial cost but this is nothing compared to saving lives.

Areas that had existing storm drains received routine maintenance and weekly clean-up exercises which desilted choked gutters.  The task was not easy as the AMA had to do battle in the media face court actions, accommodate unpalatable utterances from known faces and keep justifying the need for the exercise vis-à-vis the strange “drought forecast” which receive wide publications.

But thank God, the AMA survived it all. Today, even though it has done just two phases out of the many phases pending, it looks back and sees the positive impact of the exercise, drawing hope and strength to carry on until the last phase is executed.

During the recent rains, many residents heaved a sigh of relief because they saw little, and in most cases no flooding at all. This obviously is a great challenge, and the now popular call on the AMA to continue with the demolition exercise couldn’t have come at a better time.

Areas such as Abelenkpe, Dzorwulu, Sukula, Zamarima Line, Roman Ridge, Mataheko, Russia and Atico, where demolition notices were served months ago, would be tackled. Other areas prone to floods will inevitably see some form of demolition.

The AMA acknowledges the flood control efforts by former Mayors and others namely, E.T. Mensah, Kofi Porturphy, Mr. ismael Aryetetey, Mr. Nunoo Amateifio, Mr. Adokwei Addo and Mr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, and if the removal for the construction of storm drains will save lives and properties, then let the exercise flow!!!


Credit: The Ghanaian Times. Thursday, August 5, 2010