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General News of Thursday, 25 June 2020

Source: GNA

Efforts to control flood progressing steadily nationwide - Atta Akyea

Samuel Atta Akyea, Minister for Works and Housing Samuel Atta Akyea, Minister for Works and Housing

Government, on Wednesday, said measures instituted to control perennial flooding is progressing steadily with 93 per cent channel improvement works and 38 per cent construction works complete nationwide.

Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, who made this known at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra, said it was infrastructure undertakings that could help the nation to contain the floods and provide relief to flood-prone communities.

The media encounter focused on four thematic areas namely: Government's Policies and Regulations, Drainage and Flood Management, Coastal Management (sea defence) and Housing Programme.

Mr Atta Akyea said the Akufo-Addo government budgeted GHC 200 million towards the construction of drainage systems and channel improvement works in 2018, which is the highest amount any government has ever allocated towards flood control.

Some communities that are benefitting from the drainage and channel improvement works include: Tafo Pankrono, Ofoase Kokoben, Hwidiem, Berekum, Akwatia, New Edubiase, Tepa Beposo, Winneba, Sunyani Estate, Kwesimintsim and Asankragwa.

He said over the years, successive governments have embarked on a wide-scale channel improvement programme and widening of primary and secondary watercourses as well as the construction of various types of urban stormwater structures to control flooding.

He said one way of resolving the perennial canker was by ending the construction of open drains and adopting subterranean or underground drains because of the frequent dumping of garbage in open drains.

In the interim, he said, communities must undertake frequent voluntary desilting of choked drains to avert potential flooding.

Meanwhile, the Minister said, the Ministry of Works and Housing in collaboration with the ministries of Sanitation and Water Resources and Local Government and Rural Development, has launched the National Desilting Programme.

The Desilting Programme, he said, aimed at encouraging community-based desilting exercises in anticipation of rains and its attendant floods.

"I believe that a proper keep fit exercise by communities is by embarking on voluntary desilting of choked drains," he advised.

The Minister admitted that the government may not have adequate resources at the moment to tackle the multifaceted problem of flooding, but it was imperative for some recalcitrant citizens to change their bad attitude of dumping rubbish in open drains, saying; "this sub-culture must stop because it will not help us".

Mr Atta Akyea said government has constructed 92 hydrological gauge stations and 13 telemetry stations within the White Volta and Oti Basin to facilitate accurate recording of hydrological data and information for flood earning warning.

He said government was constructing sea defence walls at Adwoa, near Takoradi, Amanful Kuma, Aboadze, New Takoradi, Dansoman, Axim and other coastal communities to ward-off high tidal waves from displacing communities.

The Minister said the country's coastal stretch is 550 kilometres on the Gulf of Guinea, which impacts the lives of 30 per cent of the population, and it was critical to build sea defence walls to safeguard lives and property, as well as protect the sources of their livelihoods.

He said the Akufo-Addo government has invested GHC 804, 445, 516 and $60, 516,562 respectively in coastal management projects since assuming office in 2017.