Last Friday, fire swept through Accra’s biggest slum - Sodom & Gomorrah – destroying properties, rendering thousands homeless, and leaving many others in a more deplorable slum condition.
The Regional Minister, Mr. Julius Debrah, accompanied by Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo Constituency, were reported to have paid a visit to the victims and assured them of the government’s support through the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).
They had called for a meeting between the leadership of the residents and traders at Sodom and Gomorrah and the Regional Coordinating Council to deliberate on conditions in the slum.
The notorious slum, which houses over 50,000 dwellers, has, over the years, been an albatrosses over the necks of the city authorities and successive governments, mainly due to the socio-political dimensions that come to play when discussions of decongesting the slum come up.
Sanitation and general life conditions at this slum are unacceptably deplorable, but the numbers keep increasing each passing day, and further deteriorating the conditions at the place.
Communicable diseases are the major health challenges, but all attempts to move these dwellers have proved futile.
Often times, many question attempts at moving the over 50,000 slum settlers to a new place, without first accessing the social consequences, and making adequate provisions for them.
Others have also questioned the usefulness of the city authorities, especially the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, for allowing the slum to swell up under its watch, without nipping it in the bud.
Same can be said of the deplorable conditions in many market places in the city, and often, disastrous fires remind us of the inactions of the city authorities in such situations.
In what has become an annual ritual, preventable disease outbreaks and fires are the only cursors to the failures of city authorities, and their culture of applying knee jerk reactions to all situations.
But, the underlying factors point to a larger picture of unemployment, migration, and the nations’ failures in meeting the housing needs of its people.
Again, it indicates the failures of city authorities in delivering on their core mandates.
A few months ago, the Accra Mayor, Alfred Vanderpuije, made yet another monotonous repetition of his plans to finally move residents of Sodom & Gomorrah to make way for the implementation of his ambitious $600 million Accra Sanitation and Drainage Upgrading project.
This is not the first time the Mayor has threatened eviction of the squatters, and The Chronicle can say, without doubt, that it will not be the last of such threats, with the Accra Sanitation and Drainage project fast becoming a white elephant.
All too soon, the rains are here again, and Accra’s poor drainage and sanitation issues have started raising its ugly heads.
Very soon, the city would begin to count the loss of properties and lives through floods, and all eyes would be on the ill-equipped and bankrupt National Disaster Management Organisation to perform to save the day.
It is becoming obvious that the leadership at AMA has lost out on ideas of transforming and managing the city, and the earlier a more competent and visionary leader is brought on board to properly manage the city, the better.
Source: The Chronicle
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