The Vulture Syndrome

The authorities have
procrastinated many an opportunity to respond effectively to the devastating
effects of deluges in Accra.

There have been
countless downpours, with some leaving bitter tastes in our palates and in
worst case scenarios claiming lives.

There have been equally
countless write-ups on the subject but none has moved officialdom to take
effective actions to save lives and properties.

While some of the
destructions and even deaths have been occasioned by indiscipline on the part
of residents, others are attributable to the non-enforcement shortcomings of
state agents charged with such responsibilities. Even when actions are taken
against those who undertake illegal constructions which obstruct the movement
of rainwater during deluges, nothing eventually happens by way of punishment or
even demolitions.

Calls are made on
behalf of defaulters and soon the illegalities are overlooked as though they
are legal. This feature of our management of our cities has been with us for
too long and the effects not far-fetched.

The fear of ‘refusing
to vote for us’ when elections are due is harming us tremendously. But who
would start the revolution first? We wonder such changes in attitude would come
about during our generation.

Be it as it may, we
would continue to lament our poor attitude and hope that perhaps there could be
a miracle and overnight things would change.

While we appear to have
given up on the enforcement sphere of addressing the perennial flooding, the
other big one is engineering.

Even when we manage to
push the residents to change their attitude towards the environment overnight
by, among other things, lessening the use of plastics and not throwing same
into the inadequate drainage systems, we would be left with the big one:
engineering of the drainage system.

Over the years,
successive governments have spoken about addressing the inadequacy of the
drainage system in Accra. Sometimes, especially in the aftermath of a major
disaster as it happened near Circle, when the city experienced its rain and
fire incident, a certain urgency was attached to a promised project to address
the poor drainage system. Of course, nothing phenomenal happened and cynics
only presented snide smiles.

The poor drainage
system in Accra is household knowledge and it is the reason why the low-lying
city suffers perennial flooding with devastating effects.

The Accra floods and
the world at large have worsened in recent times, and experts attribute the
occurrence to the climate change phenomenon afflicting the world.

The flooding in some
parts of the city not prone to this anomaly witnessed a few days ago speaks
volumes about what awaits us if officialdom does not respond
appropriately. 

Thankfully cabinet, we
have been told, has approved $200m facility for the drainage of the nation’s
capital among other upgrading projects.

Accra deserves better
than floods even after a thirty-minute downpour. It is our hope that the
subject will be visited by the urgency it needs so that floods will become a
thing of the past as much as possible.

When there is a
downpour, the scavenger bird, the vulture, resolves to put up a better
structure to obviate the inconveniences next time. The resolutions are never
carried out. We hope this would not be a vulture promise.