Accra under water after 1 hour rain (February 1, 2014) front

THE vulnerability of Accra to floods manifested again yesterday when parts of the city were submerged in water after nearly an hour of torrential rain.

While a number of streets were submerged by the flood, companies, including the New Times Corporation, publishers of the Ghanaian Times and The Spectator;  Metro Mass Transit, the Odawna Clinic, a number of auto shops on the Graphic Road and some homes were flooded and their occupants had to be evacuated.

Some of the hard-hit areas were the auto mechanic shops at Odawna in Adabraka and the Kaneshie Market area. Vehicular movement came to a standstill as a result.

The usually busy Adabraka Official Town area was deserted by vehicles as the area got flooded, forcing motorists to avoid it. Residents, afraid of vehicles moving into their homes, pitched their camps in the rain, pleading with drivers not to move further. Others were also scooping the water from their homes with buckets, bowls and other containers they could lay hands on.

The already choked Odaw River on the Graphic Road was filled to the brim, forcing the scrap dealers to salvage their wares that were being washed away.
New Times Corporation

Among the biggest casualties was the premises of the New Times Corporation where the rain brought the day's production to a halt as the offices had flooded up to knee level when the Daily Graphic team got there around 3:30pm. Most of the staff were outside, waiting for the flood to recede.

 Apparently, the flooding was caused by the ongoing construction work being carried out on the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange.

The construction works have led to the sealing of some drains, thereby diverting the flood waters into the premises of the company, resulting in all the offices including the editorial, accounts department, canteen and library being flooded. Only the photo section, sports and printing press were spared the havoc. 

"This has never happened before. We even have to break part of a wall, to allow the water to recede,” the Editor of The Spectator, Mrs Tina Aforo-Yeboah, told the Daily Graphic.

Some workers were seen scooping water from the Editor’s Office while other workers looked on helplessly.
Narrating events leading to the flood, the Spectator Editor said “When we saw the rainwater coming, we lifted all our electrical gadgets and placed them on higher ground to prevent any damage. After 25 minutes, the room was flooded and we had to depend on some of our male workers to bring us out.”

“We don’t know if anything has been damaged. We have to wait till the water goes down to assess the extent of damage,” she added.

A not-too-happy Lawrence Markwei, a senior journalist of the corporation, said “the flood has stopped everything. I’m not sure we will come out with the paper tomorrow.”
Graphic Road

On the Graphic Road, there was heavy traffic as workers of some companies along the stretch, notably Toyota Ghana and KIA Motors Ghana Limited, conscious of past experiences with the floods, parked their new vehicles on the shoulders of the road. This led to gridlock and tension between motorists and the car dealers.

Metro Mass  and STC
Two state transport companies were also affected by the rain.

The floods did not spare the STC Terminal. Pools of water had collected in the premises, leaving passengers and buses marooned.

The story was not different at the MMT offices near Kaneshie where a number of offices had been inundated.

Mr Henry Richardson Jonah, the Assistant Technical Manager of the company said “portions of the offices and the main workshop, especially the pits where we repair our buses have been affected.  There would be a problem with wiring. All the air cleaners for the buses have to be replaced. We hope it does not rain again as it would submerge the buses and affect the fuel tanks.”

He attributed the flooding to a drain behind the company’s walls that got flooded whenever there was a heavy rain.

Mr Eric Boadi-Misa, the Head of Communication of MMT, said the company was yet to measure the extent of damage caused by the floods.

Just a stone’s throw away from the MMT offices, part of the Kaneshie-Odorkor road—the Kaneshie Market stretch – was heavily flooded forcing some drivers and their mates to seek refuge on top of their vehicles.

 The road itself was flooded, compelling drivers to park their vehicles to prevent them being swept away by the surging water.

In contrast, parts of Achimota, Alajo, Kokomlemle and Tesano associated with heavy flooding, this time round did not feel the impact of the rain.

Accra’s problem
 Accra, which is sited on a low-lying area, experiences flooding annually, mainly because of the haphazard construction of houses, especially on water courses, poor drainage and a poor waste management system that chokes the drains with refuse. Efforts by the city authorities to check the situation continue to be undermined by recalcitrant residents and the weak enforcement of bye-laws.

In 2011, floods in the country resulted in the death of more than 30 people nationwide, with 15 victims in Accra in addition to the destruction of property running into millions of cedis.

Similar incidents were recorded in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2010 and 2011.

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