Pools of water at departure, arrival halls of KIA (Spread)

Travellers who used the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on December 30, 2013 had to cautiously avoid pools of water that had collected at the arrival and departure halls of the country’s only international airport.

The pools of water was the result of a leaking roof which gave way after it rained that day.
Water dripped from the ceiling and covered almost half of the departure hall.
• The pool of water  at the Departure Hall of the Kotoka International Airport.     Picture credit: Maame Ama Sanne Otoo
The pool of water at the Departure Hall of the Kotoka International Airport. Picture credit: Maame Ama Sanne Otoo
Cleaners had to mop the water that had collected at the two halls of the airport while airlines and passengers conducted pre-departure formalities, including luggage check-in and issuing of boarding passes.

An eyewitness, Ms Maame Ama Sanne Otoo, told the Daily Graphic that it took more than an hour to mop the slippery, tiled floor.

“I was very disappointed. The thought of a whole Kotoka International Airport flooded was absurd. It wasn’t the best. Luckily, it happened when most of the check-ins had been done,” Ms Otoo said.
She said some of the travellers took pictures of the scene and described it as a “a big disgrace.”

The arrival hall was not left out as passengers had to tread gingerly in order not to fall. The walkway after the customs checkpoint was also flooded.

Genesis of the problem

Apparently, the problem has been a recurring one from the 1970s, a source at the Airport told the Daily Graphic.

Sources said the water seeped from some huge iron beams, which are part of the roof.

They claimed that the beams were not in the original plan of the design of the building and added that the airport was initially planned to be bigger but the size had to be reduced and that resulted in the introduction of the beams.

 With time, the sources said, rain water started seeping through the beams onto the floor. Since then, various contractors have applied different methods in trying to solve the problem but the challenge remained.

“I think what should have been done when the problem started was to consult the original French company which built the airport,” the sources said.

“To be honest, the management of the airport has tried variously to solve the problem. I am sure they'll welcome ideas as to how to solve this problem,” the sources added.

Persistent situation 

On January 28 2013, a similar situation occurred, with almost the entire arrival hall looking like a mini swimming pool, when torrential rains swept through Accra.

Arriving passengers and their waiting relations witnessed leakages during the evening downpour which rendered the arrival hall of the airport unusable.

The airport’s authorities were reportedly compelled by the embarrassing circumstances to direct arriving passengers to the departure hall, while their relatives waited at the entrance of the departure hall.

Attempts to get authorities of the airport to speak to the issue did not yield any fruit. Persistent calls were not returned.

When last year’s flooding occurred, Mrs Doreen Owusu-Fianko the then Managing Director was reported to have said that the flooding at the arrival terminals of the airport was caused by the choking of the exit pipes for water with debris, probably from the re-roofing project.

“One of the pipes serving as an exit for water got choked, probably with debris, which caused the water to seep into the canyon, flooding the terminal, whilst some cracks in the glass panels also allowed water to seep through,” she was quoted by the Ghana News Agency as saying.

Social media

Some of the pictures of the situation made rounds on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp, attracting anger and frustration from commentators.
A not-too-enthused Setor Dzisenu wrote: “It is like we’re meeting visitors with a full disclosure of mediocrity and ineptitude.”

She continued: “It is unbecoming.  It is embarrassing and speaks to a certain kind of mentality, that this is a nation that’s so horrible at maintenance culture that it doesn’t even try to mask that fact, exposing its guests (some of which may be first- timers) to such an atrocity. At least we should try and hide our flaws at the point of entry into the ‘gateway of Africa.”

Writer’s email: seth.bokpe@graphic.com.gh


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