Accra Floods: Who is to Blame? A Great Lesson for us All

On 4th June , 2015, the nation of Ghana woke up to horrible News of the death of dozens of people in the Ghanaian capital city of Accra.A Goil Filling Station had exploded whiles people were gathered there for safety due to flooding. More than a hundred was confirmed dead and scores of others injured.The scene of the tragedy was unsightable. President John Dramani Mahama declared 3 days of National Mourning and called it a sad day in the history of Ghana as he rightly said "This loss of life is catastrophic and almost unprecedented.A lot of people have lost their lives and I am lost for words". Indeed, he wasn't the only one lost for words. Most Ghanaians and especially those who have lost their loved ones, are still trying to come to terms with what happened on this day. Just 2 days before, student of the Government Secretariat died at Agege near Dansoman in Accra after she fell into a flooded gutter.Joy News said the 20-year -old, Freda Serwaa  slipped into an open drain when she attempted to give way to an oncoming vehicle.Watching the pictures of the flooding will make you breakdown in tears. For example, one woman was seen lying down dead with her baby lying on top of her. Apparently, you could see that the woman was trying to save her baby, but they all ended up being touched by the cold hands of death.I still see this woman's picture whenever I close my eyes. You could see burnt bodies everywhere. 

Meanwhile, properties worth millions of Ghana Cedis are feared to have been destroyed by the torrential rain.Joy Business reports that dozens of vehicles including SUVs, sedans, minivans, etc parked at the garages of Toyota Ghana Company, Rana Motors, among many other auto shops operating along the Graphic Road in Accra have been damaged. This will deal a serious blow to the Ghanaian economy.

As sad as this incident is , we have nobody to blame. We cannot blame anybody but ourselves and we should all take responsibility and bow our heads in shame and in show of remorse for this great loss to our dear nation. Why do I say this? I say that because of the book-long attitude we Ghanaians show towards our environment. There is something called the law of Causality. According to wikipedia, Causality also referred to as causation is the relation between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the first event is understood to be responsible for the second. The law of causality simply states that, for every effect, there must be a cause and every cause has an effect. And there is a Ghanaian (Dagomba) proverb that if you stumble and fall, you must look at the stumbling block not the ground on which you fell. Similarly, we must look at the root cause of these flooding events in Accra and solve them instead of the blame games. The root of cause of these unfortunate events begins with the individual. We buy sachet water, drink the water out of it and then throw the plastic rubber on any available ground around us. Most people see gutters as the proper place to dispose of their rubbish knowing very well that plastic rubbers unlike paper and wood can not decompose off into the ground easily. We buy food and then allow the food vendors to wrap our foods in 3 layers polythene bags. If the food vendor doesn't do this, we see it as a sign of disrespect or ungratefulness.All these rubbers that we gather, instead of disposing them off well , we rather dump them on the ground which eventually gets inside our gutters and open drains. Some of us complain that the government does not provide Dustbins, latrines and rubbish containers but it is common in Ghana to see a dustbin standing empty but surrounded by rubbish. Obviously, people feel lazy to put the rubbish inside the dustbin so they will rather gather it around the dustbin and wait for the garbage man to come and pick it up. In my first semester as a student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, a guy was almost dismissed from the Unity Hall of Residence because he dropped an empty sachet of water and when he was asked to pick it up, he felt he was too big to pick it up and put it inside the bin. Apparently, he was doing "guy guy" forgetting that when the consequences of his negligence show up to him, he won't even remember the meaning of "guy". Sometimes, you will see rubbish dumped right onto the center of the street for cars to pass on it. The sad part is that, not all Ghanaians are like this but when its time to pay the price , any Ghanaian is an option. Even the innocent children are not spared as we've seen in the recent flooding. When we drop rubbish anyhow, it gathers in our gutters and choke our drains making it difficult for water to pass through freely. This then causes disasters such as the June flooding incidents in Accra.

Furthermore, We are always the same people to whine and complain when government tries to make things right.We have all seen the treatment the Accra mayor received when he tried to decongest the streets of Accra. He was seen as wicked , ruthless and inconsiderate mayor simply because he tried to do the undo-able in Africa -doing the right thing in the face of loosing your power of office. We were all feeling sympathy for those whose buildings got demolished by Oko Vanderpuije but I'm sure those victims will be more than grateful, now that they have seen what the flood could have done to them had they still been at those waterway slums. Also, we treat the National Sanitation Day with scorn and disdain. Even if the government do not ask us to clean our environment, can't we do it as sane and intelligent beings ourselves? After all cleanliness is next to godliness they say.

We all have roles to play in maintaining environmental safety in our dear nation.The government has to put up workable and concrete policies to check refuse disposal. For Example, in the US, when you buy fast food, it is put into a paper bag for you not a polythene bag. You would have to pay extra money if you want the food to be put into a plastic container for you. In Malaysia, there is Sanitation police so when you dump rubbish where you are not supposed to, you get flogged!. In the Western world, people are not told what to do but still they do the right thing. Why? Because their minds have been educated. Dustbins must be made readily available at every corner in the country by the government but that must be done in conjunction with proper education.Government has to set up proper education measures to educate the people more about proper environmental sanitation and its lack thereof. Education has to be holistic, intense and in the proper medium. Without education, there will never be any positive societal change. Every citizen, old or young, man or woman should be educated on proper sanitation.No one should be left behind. If the citizenry is not educated, providing dustbins would be a "cos 90" job.And until we change our attitude towards our environment, Our environment will not change its attitude towards us.

IF WE DON'T TAKE CARE OF NATURE, NATURE WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF. In chemical terms, Nature will always move towards a state of maximum entropy. Thank you.

The above article was written with the greatest contribution from :
Mr Steven Zando ( Writer, Amateur journalist, and Bsc Chemistry Student of KNUST)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. In your opening address,you claim the Goil filling station was set ablaze due to the floods but that was not so. Also instead of only looking at the demolishing of structures which obstruct waterways,one would also have to look at how come the buildings were allowed there in the first place. These floods and other issues surrounding it were the culmination of various factors which have to be critically looked at. Talk of the response of our security and disaster management agencies,talk of our meteorological agency,the aptness of our media houses and the fact that other areas aside the capital also experienced similar events.... many,many angles to work on.
    Nice piece all the same.

  3. Wow!! Really make angles. never thought of that. Good idea though. I will edit them in. Thanks.

  4. Please I need some help i want to export Ghana food to Dubai


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