Changing Accra: One month after June 3 disaster

accraA lot was said in the immediate aftermath of the June 3 flooding and fire disaster that killed over 150 people. After the blame game settled, it was agreed that, though Accra was a flood-prone area, the deaths and loss of property were avoidable. Residents and officials, both agreed the city needs an “overhaul.”

City authorities declared their readiness to tackle the mess that caused the flood once and for all.

Though no coherent plan was presented, government released 50 million cedis for humanitarian relief and rebuilding of affected roads. President John Mahama promised to end the perennial flooding by “taking drastic measures.”

“We have to take some measures to avoid this in the future. Often when these measures are drastic, you have a lot of sympathy and pressure not to take these measures. But I think the time has come for us to move houses out of the waterways. The public should understand that it is necessary to take such measures to save everybody else,” said the President on the morning after.

Right away, city authorities got to work. Equipment was moved to dredge the Odaw river. The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) demolished hundreds of homes at Old Fadama to clear the area for the dredging of the Korle lagoon. About five buildings on waterways were demolished elsewhere in the city. Citizens rallied to clean devastated areas and support victims of the flood.
That was a month ago.

Right now, the AMA is back to what it does well, implementing half measures. A bit of dredging is still underway in the places where the cameras go. There’s some amount of cleaning, they are still sweeping the streets, albeit leaving the rubbish on the sides. It is scrambling to deal with the homeless situation created by the demolition of homes at Old Fadama. It is now looking for a place to resettle the slum dwellers.