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Opinions Wed, 2 Nov 2011

The cycle of the floods

*By: Nana Abena Afriyie Kwarkye, abenaafriyiekwarkye@yahoo.com*

There comes times and seasons. Just as there is a time to plant, it is no different with harvest time. A time to be born and a time to die. I know that no one wants to die an untimely death. There is a dry season and a wet season. Here we go again; the rains are here with us. There is therefore no excuse when the rains take us by surprise.**

I might not have experienced a lot of floods; at least I have experienced it more than once. As and when it happens, the whole country makes it a matter of concern. Both the print and electronic media makes it their headline news. The subject dominates the air waves, and after a week, it is forgotten completely.

But you can all bear with me that, you cannot sow your crops in the dry season and harvest when the rain comes. Thus we have to look for solutions before the rain comes and not when it is raining.

Its heart breaking to see that, when the rains go away, we quickly forget about it and close the chapter of solutions until the rains set in again. We turn into the proverbial crow who always says it will build itself a nest whenever it rains, but shake itself and fly away when the rains stop. It only remembers the building of a nest when the next raining season comes, but the nest is never built.

It's time to wake up as a country and take steps to build it. Nobody can do it for Ghana, if you don't do it. I believe it's not time to talk politics because this cycle affects the whole country. If you live on top of a hill so you think you can never be hit by the flood, remember your relative lives underneath. Some way somehow, it affects every one of us.

The solutions to this problem remain an open secret. Tackling the issue of our drainage system, distilling the drains, not building on waterways and most importantly attitudinal change. Whose responsibility is it to implement these solutions, the government? Precisely not! It is your responsibility and mine as well to first of all change our attitude when it comes to disposing waste and purchasing lands on waterway.

It boils down to the point that if we should change our attitude as a country, the tax payers’ money used in providing relief items to victims of flood disaster could be used for more beneficial projects such as construction of accessible roads to our houses, distilling the drains and making our lives in this country better.

Dumping of refuse into the gutters is obviously one of the reasons we have choked gutters. In effect, when it rains heavily, the rain water forces its way onto the street, causing flooding. After last Wednesday, 26th of October's floods, at least the records show that more than 10 persons lost their lives.

Shame on you if you have turned the drain in front of your house into a dumping site. You must be feeling guilty over the lives that have been lost. Indeed, the government can build more drains but if the dumping of refuse into it does not stop, we are back to square one.

Secondly, erecting of buildings on waterway must stop without any compromise whatsoever. Over the years some governments have tried demolishing such structures, but the issue only ends up on political platforms as propaganda speeches. It's time to make this a national issue devoid of politics. If we don't tackle it now, it might be too late tomorrow.

This is the time to start building our nest and stop being a crow.

Health Alert!!! People will not only die in the floods, it could lead to an epidemic such as cholera outbreaks and even malaria!

A word to the wise……

Columnist: Kwarkye, Nana Abena Afriyie