He stated that his Ministry has deployed all resources available to construct new drains and improve existing ones with a focus on vulnerable communities ahead of the raining season.
These flood hotspots include Kasoa Millennium City, Adenta Sakora, Nsakyi, Ablekuma, Dawhyenya and Dome Railway Crossing, New Legon, Santor, Adenta, as well as the Sango and Naapladjor drains.
GH₵450m spent on flood control
Asenso-Boakye said from 2018 to date, the government had committed GH₵450 million to the National Flood Control Programme.
384 desilting projects and 202 drainage channel
He said under the Programme, – 384 desilting projects and 202 drainage channel construction projects have been initiated.
He explained that to date, 370 desilting projects, representing 96% of planned projects have been completed, while 84 drainage channel construction projects, representing 42% have been completed, with 119 at various stages of completion.
“The effect has been the mitigation of floods in beneficiary communities such as Kuntunse Satellite, Achimota Mile 7, Katamanso, Mamprobi, Abeka-Ayigbe Town, Labadi Olympia, Tse-Addo, Teshie Yoomo Specs, Nungua (United Church Area), Haatso, Madina Firestone, Madina Maayɛ hot, Madina Redco, Madina Oblogo, Dome Crossing, Santa Maria (Plus FM and Washing) Weija GEICEL, Kasoa Iron City, Kasoa Obom and Ashaiman, among other communities across the country,” he added.
Addressing a news conference in Accra the Minister updated the media on government’s preparedness against floods ahead of the rainy season.
Working tour of flood prone communities
Asenso-Boakye added that to ensure that Accra is adequately prepared for the impending rains; he undertook a working tour of flood prone communities with technical staff of the Ministry and the Ghana Hydrological Authority to assess the major causes of flooding in some localities to evaluate the country’s level of preparedness ahead of the raining season.
Development activities in Kpeshie Lagoon
According to him, development activities in the Kpeshie Lagoon, the wetlands and their reserve areas has disrupted the ability of the lagoon and wetlands to hold water, leading to flooding in nearby communities during heavy downpour.
The Minister noted that human activities along riverbanks have contributed to increased erosion and resulted in the collapse of buildings adjacent to the drain.
785 buildings in waterways
He revealed that the Municipal Assembly identified about 785 buildings in waterways that had to be pulled down during the tour.
Officials are currently working on the necessary logistics to undertake that assignment.
Other flood prone areas visited by the Minister are Teshie Bush Road Drain, Roman Ridge (Railway Reserve Line), Villagio Area (Onyasia Stream), Korkordjor (Weija Old Barrier) and New Bortianor.
“Whilst progress has been made, we recognise the need to improve drainage infrastructure in many other communities, dredge drainage channels and water bodies and continue with our flood control programme,” he explained.
Asenso-Boakye indicated that notwithstanding efforts by the Ministry, human activities tend to undermine the impact of government’s investments to mitigate flood risks.
Ministry seeks support of National Security
The Ministry is seeking support from the Ministry of National Security to guarantee the safety of Assemblies in enforcing laws against development in waterways and wetlands.
Staff of assemblies receiving death threats
The Ministry said staff of some Assemblies, including District and Metropolitan Chief Executives, had been receiving death threats in their quest to enforce the law, with some developers deploying armed land guards to prevent assemblies from doing their work.
He cited a situation in the La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly where the Kpeshie Lagoon, wetlands and its buffer reserve areas were being filled with construction materials to reclaim the land for development.
Armed men deployed by developers
Mr Asenso-Boakye said the Ministry had learnt that the site was guarded by armed men deployed by developers, making it difficult for the Assembly to halt the illegal activities in the reserved area.
“The MCE recounted an occasion where one of the developers threatened him and asked that he finds out how the predecessor died.
“It will be recalled that the predecessor was allegedly killed when a vehicle ran into her while jogging on the street,” the Minister said.
Asenso-Boakye said building on watercourses which results in perennial flooding had become “a big development issue,” adding that human activities were undermining efforts by the Government to address the situation in Accra.
As a result, he said that there’s the need for citizens to support Government’s efforts by respecting rules and regulations governing settlement planning and avoid development in water ways and drainage buffers.
“Citizens have to be more circumspect in managing household solid waste and desist from using our drainage channels as rubbish dumps” he added.
The Minister said his Ministry on its part will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD), the Ministry of National Security and other relevant institutions to ensure waterways are free of buildings that block the drainage channels and cause flooding in communities.
The Minister further assured that, his Ministry is committed to the course of ensuring a robust and sustainable development of public works and housing infrastructure for the benefit of present and future generations.
He called on chiefs, community leaders, civil society groups and the media to support the government’s efforts at controlling floods.
“We can all do so by highlighting incidents of construction in waterways so appropriate state authorities could act promptly and by educating the public on dangers of building in waterways and improper disposal of solid waste” he stressed.
Flood Early Warning System
Asenso-Boakye said the Ministry was also developing Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) for the Greater Accra Region to afford people in vulnerable communities the benefit of advanced notice of flooding so they could take steps to protect their lives and valuables.
“The Ministry will continue to engage the Ministry of Finance to raise the necessary funds to enhance the flood resilience of our communities,” he assured.