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GHANA: After The Floods - Calm And Neglect   
 
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13-Aug-2009  
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After the April to early July rains that ran the floods to remind the entire nation of the price to pay for negligence and lip-service over pressing issues, Ghanaians are back to ‘life as usual.’

Too soon, the pains and wails of the nation, which saw city authorities earmarking for demolition, buildings they reckoned were wrongfully, illegally or inappropriately cited and largely blamed for the devastation, have withered away.

Indeed the entire nation is silent, waiting for yet another year’s rains and floods to curse and remind ourselves that it does not pay to play the ostrich, or in Ghanaian parlance, ‘play the vulture’. The scavenger is reputed in Ghanaian folklore as a very careful bird that does all in its power not to antagonize anyone, hence its desire to feed from the swept, abandoned and condemned. Ironically, it does not mind where it sleeps and so unlike other birds, does not build any nests of its own. After every rainfall and drench, it reminds itself how beautiful it would be to own a ‘house’, and promises to build one after the rains.


By the time its soaked feathers are dry, its housing headaches too have vanished. And another cycle is set. I recall the heavy hearts that mourned the many souls the nation lost in road accidents at the beginning of the year and the trembling limbs of ordinary folks and those high up in authority in search of measures to halt the carnage. There were even suggestions to install restraints or some such mechanisms in vehicles to reduce speeding. And why I’m I not surprised we are quiet?


One suburb in Accra that suffered the full force of the 2009 floods is Sakaman in the Ablekuma North Constituency, a sprawling settlement adjoining Dansoman and Odorkor. Drains constructed in Sakaman and its neighbourhoods early on in the year could do little to prevent the rains from flooding the community. In the first of the floods that hit the neighborhood, property worth millions of Ghana cedis were lost. Luckily there was no death. Roads in the neighborhood that are used by motorists who ply the Mallam-Kaneshie highway became instant rivers.


Some residents attributed the cause of the flooding to the narrow nature of the drains while others pointed to choked drains. At the time, residents were wailing and calling on the Member of Parliament to help find a lasting solution to the perennial flooding. Elsewhere in the capital, and in other places like Kumasi, lives were lost. But barely two months on, the noise is dead and everyone is busy with their business. So we wait again, for another heavy rain, to wail with our plaintive voices, just like the vulture.
 
 
Source: Felix Baidoo
 
 

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