On June 3, 2015, Ghana experienced the worst disaster caused by water and fire. More than 200 people were killed in that twin disaster and properties worth GH¢1,658,847.00, were destroyed. A lot of people were displaced and rendered homeless
A five-man committee was constituted by the government to investigate the cause of the June 3 flood and fire disasters.
The committee’s finding alluded that one Seth Ofosu, ignited the fire after dropping a lit cigarette. However, the leakage from the fuel station and the floods that submerged Circle were identified as the remote causes of the disaster.
Among the recommendations of the committee were dredging of the Odaw drain at the Nkrumah Circle, a ban on the use of plastic bags, a standardised training, certification and licensing of filling station attendants.
The disaster was termed as the worst in 56 years, after the worst flooding Ghana experienced in June 1959.
According to flood disaster profile of Ghana since 1968, put together by the Daily Graphic, this country has experienced flooding dating back to July 4, 1968. It has been a perennial problem, sometimes happening more than once within a year.
In all the incidents, the cause as we know is not new to us; we have just failed as a country to end the perennial disaster, once and for all.
Rainfall patterns from the Meteorological Department, suggests that rainstorms are getting more intense.
The data shows that there are fewer rainy days, yet the total yearly amounts of rainfall, have not changed much from previous decades. This means that more rain is falling on the days that there is rain, which in turn means that rain storms in the city are getting more intense, increasing the threat of flooding.
It is clear, in our view that the country needs to take measures to cope with flooding. This will require both local and international interventions, and could include early warning and rapid response systems, flood data gathering and modelling, proper urban and spatial planning, flood emergency preparedness and political will
Three years down the line, what has happened to the Seth Ofosu committee’s recommendation? Are we prepared enough to prevent similar incidents in the rainy season?