Accra flood Use laws to address flood risk instead of demolishing houses – TUC to Gov’t

Over 200 people were reported dead while properties running into millions of cedis destroyed by the torrential rains that fell for over three hours.

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TUC boss, Kofi Asamoah with President Mahama play

TUC boss, Kofi Asamoah with President Mahama

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is advising government to introduce and enforce laws that will criminalize actions that contribute to flooding in Ghana.

Over 200 people lost their lives while properties running into millions of cedis destroyed by the torrential rains that fell for over three hours.

Some people had gathered in front of a Pharmacy Shop at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle near the Goil Filling Station adjacent to the GBC Towers to seek for refuge from the heavy downpour but unfortunately lost their lives following a fire outbreak at the Goil filling station.

Already, authorities have started demolishing buildings on water ways in the nation’s capital. While some people agree with the exercise, others have vehemently protested. But the TUC has said that, if any law that criminalises the sale and building of houses on water ways exists, “then this is the time we need to apply them to the letter in a very civilized manner, instead of demolishing people’s houses and other buildings indiscriminately, as some have suggested.”

Below is the full statement issued by the TUC 

SOLUTION TO THE PERENNIAL FLOODS: SOME SUGGESTIONS

Once again, Accra has flooded with very disastrous consequences. We have lost over 150 of our compatriots. Some have lost their fathers, mothers, uncles, children and close relatives. All Ghanaians are grieving.

This is not the first time we have witnessed flooding in Accra and other parts of the country. We recall a similar flood in 2010 which caused the deaths of 35 Ghanaians.

Your Excellency, we could not have prevented the rain storms that caused the floods and the deaths of these innocent Ghanaians who were going about their normal duties to survive these rather harsh economic conditions in the country. Certainly, there will be more storms in the future that may even be severer than the one we witnessed in Accra last week. But we can prevent the perennial flooding and the needless deaths of innocent Ghanaians that accompany such storms.

We do not think that this is the time for blame game. Rather, we would like to suggest the following measures to you, Your Excellency, while the investigations are going on and we are still dealing with the shock and grief that have befallen our dear country.

First, we suggest that you set up an inter-ministerial committee or taskforce with clear terms of reference and mandate as well as the necessary financial, technical and logistical support to prevent another flooding in Accra and other parts of the country.

We do not know when and where nature will strike next. That is why the scope of work of the proposed committee or taskforce should extend to all parts of the country. There are many Ghanaians who have the skills and the expertise to help such a committee or taskforce to achieve its objectives. Our development partners know how to prevent flooding. They can help us. The challenge is enormous. One ministry or assembly cannot provide the long-lasting solution we are looking for. We need the support of everyone who can help us. Most of all, we need your leadership and the political will to deal with this problem.

Second, if there are no laws that criminalize actions and inactions that cause flooding, including, but not limited to, the allocation of waterways for construction of houses, petrol stations and other such buildings, as well as throwing rubbish into gutters, this is the time to make such laws. If these laws exist, then this is the time we need to apply them to the letter in a very civilized manner, instead of demolishing people’s houses and other buildings indiscriminately, as some have suggested.

We believe that these and other measures could help avert another tragedy.

Your Excellency, please do not allow any Ghanaian to die again because of floods. If the only legacy you can bequeath to us is flood-free Ghana we will appreciate it and will remember you forever.

On our part, we will lead the working people of Ghana to support all initiatives that will provide a lasting solution to this perennial problem.

We trust that our humble suggestions will receive your attention.

Yours faithfully,

FOR: TRADES UNION CONGRESS (GHANA)

  1. YAW BAAH

ACTING SECRETARY GENERAL

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