Human activities have hindered various actions to address flooding in the country, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, the Minister for Works and Housing, has observed.
Such activities as the filling of wetlands and lagoons, the dumping of solid waste in drains, the obstruction of lagoons and wetlands for development purposes, construction on drainage channels that restrict stormwater flow, the dumping of waste in drains that reduce their capacity, and inadequate enforcement of planning and building laws by local authorities are some of the human impediments.
Mr Asenso-Boakye expressed worry about such negative activities when he appraised Parliament, in Accra, on measures taken to address flooding in the country following recent heavy downpours.
He told the House that, despite the government’s allocation of GH¢450 million for drain construction and desilting since 2018, human activities had made it challenging to tackle the recurring issue of flooding.
“Mr Speaker, 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 MDAs,” he said.
Mr Asenso-Boakye, also Member of Parliament (MP) for Bantama, said flooding in the capital, Accra, especially, was considered a national security issue; and the Ministry was engaging with other relevant agencies to resolve the issue.
“Mr Speaker, 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 sitting 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 said.
Touching on the progress made on the projects aimed at mitigating the effects of flooding in Accra, the Minister said since 2018, the government had committed more than GH¢400 million to address flooding under a special programme.
According to him, under the programme, 384 desilting projects and 202 channel projects were initiated.
“Mr Speaker, today, 370 desilting projects representing 96 per cent 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,” he said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin directed Mr Asenso-Boakye and Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance to come to the House to provide details on how the government intends to deal with the recurrent flooding.