PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE ON FLOODS IN ACCRA AND RELATED ISSUES
We have learnt with deep sorrow and distress the havoc caused by the heavy downpour of rain in Accra and other parts of Ghana yesterday. We are informed that that some major drains in the capital overflowed their banks while the Odaw River brought out garbage dumped into it, exposing the poor sanitation habits and attitude of many Ghanaians.
We have also been told that many other areas around Sakaman, Accra New Town, North Kaneshie, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Darkuman, Fadama, Mamprobi and the Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle, among others, have been badly affected with huge damage to light industries and warehouses located in the affected areas.
We have also learnt with utter shock the huge explosion which occurred at the Goil Filling Station near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle which has resulted in many deaths. We deeply regret the incredible loss of lives and the sheer carnage caused by the ensuing inferno.
We are particularly grateful to the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), NADMO, Ghana Police Service as well as groups and individuals of good will who contributed in no small way to evacuate and give support to victims of this unprecedented disaster.
Long-term Strategic Planning
We think that as a nation, we have not done well over the years with our long-term planning in our response to the perennial flooding in Accra and other parts of Ghana.
Time without number, our capital city has suffered the ignominy of being inundated with floods leaving in its wake massive destruction of property and human casualties. For all this time, what we have witnessed is government officials and ministers visiting flood scenes to commiserate with victims and to make long and empty promises to fix the situation. Year in and year out, the same situation keeps recurring without any concrete practical steps being taken to address it holistically. This latest incident should be a wake-up call for us to be up and doing and not only pay lip service to the phenomenon of flooding in Ghana.
Much has been said about planning and we dare say that Accra and other cities of our dear nation needs re-planning. Town and City Planning authorities need to be up and doing.
We think that building permits should not be given to people to build houses on water courses. Those who flout such building regulations must be dealt with according to the law.
Every Ghanaian must be ready to learn and accept the fact that when we flout our laws, we will all one day inevitably face the consequences of such an act.
Condolences to Bereaved Families
Our heartfelt condolences go to all those who have lost dear ones to the flood. Our prayer for them is that God will console them and restore them to hope. We also pray for those who lost their lives that God will grant them merciful judgment and give them a place in his heavenly abode. We believe in the ability of State institutions tasked with responding to such situations to come to the help of victims.
We regret that property and lives lost in the latest downpour in Ghana but we are optimistic that that all is not lost. We believe that we can rise from this tragedy and put our acts together to forestall future mishaps of such magnitude. Actions we take today can carry great hope for the future. Let us all help in building a better Ghana.
MOST REV. JOSEPH OSEI-BONSU
BISHOP OF KONONGO-MAMPONG AND PRESIDENT, GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE