Human activities greatly impeding flood prevention measures – Asenso-Boakye

The government says efforts to address flooding have been hindered by various human activities, including the filling of wetlands and lagoons and the dumping of solid waste in drains.

Despite allocating GH¢450 million for drain construction and desilting since 2018, the government claims that these activities have made it challenging to tackle the recurring issue of flooding.

Minister for Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, highlighted issues such as the obstruction of lagoons and wetlands for development purposes, construction on drainage channels that impede stormwater flow, dumping of waste in drains that reduce their capacity, and inadequate enforcement of planning and building laws by local authorities.

“It has become more evident that human activities are severely impeding the government’s efforts to tackle flooding. The observation includes blocking of lagoons and wetlands with construction materials for development purposes, building on drainage channels and blocking the free flow of stormwater, dumping of solid waste in drains thereby reducing their capacity to hold stormwater and the gap in the enforcement of planning and building laws by the various MMDAs,” Mr Asenso-Boakye bemoaned while providing a brief to Parliament on measures by the government to contain the situation.

The Minister further intimated that flooding in the capital is considered a national security issue and his Ministry is engaging with other relevant agencies to resolve the issue.

“Cabinet noted the need to consider flooding in Accra as a national security issue since effective law enforcement has a role to play in resolving the issue. Subsequently, the Cabinet constituted a committee to develop a comprehensive plan with appropriate measures to strengthen the enforcement of laws relating to lands and siting of buildings

“While the Committee does its work, my Ministry will continue its engagement with the National Security Ministry in seeking support for the Assemblies to enforce planning laws and building regulations.”

He also gave an update on the progress of projects aimed at mitigating the effects of flooding in Accra.

“Since 2018, the government has committed more than GH¢400 million to address flooding under a special progaramme. Under this programme, 384 desilting projects and 202 channel projects were initiated.

“Today, 370 desilting projects representing 96 percent have been completed and 84 drainage channel projects have been completed, with the remaining 118 at various stages of completion and the effects have been the mitigation of flood hazards in beneficiary communities.”