Shiabu residents cry for a sea defence wall as tidal waves ‘torture’ scores of people in their homes
High tides causing flooding in parts of Ablekuma West constituency in the Greater Accra Region have left residents displaced and engulfed in filth.
High tides are one of the challenges that hit many communities along Ghana’s coasts, destroying homes and displacing hundreds.
Happy FM’s reporter, Joseph Nii Ankrah, reports that at Shiabu in the Ablekuma West district, the waves started sweeping through the community around the dawn of 21st September and has now become a daily occurrence.
He said a good number of the residents there have been left homeless with women and children worst affected.
The residents are asking for a ‘Sea Defence’ but are, however, not willing to relocate. Most of them have nowhere to take refuge and are living at the mercy of the sea surrounded by debris.
A resident who lives and trades at Shiabu as a fishmonger expressed her frustration with the current situation and how it has disrupted her livelihood. ‘’I have lived here for close to 30 years. I have given birth to 12 children staying at this very place. When I came here first the sea wasn’t close like this but as time went by, the sea is gradually sacking us from here” she said.
Owner of Obrempong bar also shared what he has lost to the recent tidal wave that has destroyed properties in Shiabu including his drinking bar. “I have lost my business because of the tidal wave. I operate a drinking Bar here, the summer hut I built for my customers to sit under and enjoy their drinks was destroyed by the tidal wave’’ he lamented.
Another resident bemoaned how the negative practices of the area have contributed to the sea exceeding its boundaries and causing havoc. ‘Some of my neighbours are also part of the problem. Their sand winning habits have contributed to this problem. There are some who dump refuse into the sea which is also very bad’’ she revealed.
Government’s response and interventions
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Ablekuma West Assembly in reaction to the damage caused by the tidal wave in the Shiabu enclave told Samuel Eshun host of the Happy Morning Show (Happy HMS) that government’s first engagement on the issue begun five (5) months ago.
"We are following the situation in Shiabu, we started engaging them about five (5) to six (6) months ago. Let’s put the situation in perspective, we have constructed more than a thousand-metre stretch from Gleve to Chorkor. But the challenge with sea defence is that when you do one side of a sea defence, it puts pressure on the side without the sea defence wall and that is what is causing the flooding around Shiabu’’ he said.
"The contractor is almost done with the first part, and fortunately, the Member of Parliament (MP) Ursula Owusu got an extension of the sea defence. But you know before government release funds for a project, it has to go through a procurement process. The contractor also cautioned that when the sea defence is done across the whole area, lives and properties will be saved, but the economic aspect of the lives of the people in Shiabu will be affected. So the contractor has advised that we construct the sea defence in a way that there will be space in between the walls for fishing activities while protecting lives and properties’’ he assured.