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Opinions of Saturday, 19 February 2022

Columnist: Denis Andaban

Oh dear year of roads, save us from another flood havoc as the rain is preparing to return

Year of roads Year of roads

It is a lot of sorrow, reminiscing the historic topsy-turvy that engulfed the entire Upper West Region after torrential rain caused a flood that washed away many roads in the Upper West Region.

Even the most commercial highways in the Region like Wa-Nadowli-Babile road, Lawra-Nandom- Hamile road, Wa-Fian-Tumu road and the Tumu-Navrongo road were not spared. As for the feeder roads in the Daffiama, Bussie, Issa, Nadowli, Kaleo, Wa East, Wa West, Jirapa and Lambussie- Karni, the least said about them the better.

Virtually, every feeder road was swallowed by the hungry rain. I need not remind you that, the flood travelled away with many houses, leaving already struggling citizens in the area, more impoverished.

According to the National Disaster Management Organization, about 336 households were displaced while 722 farms were washed away.
The local economy of the Upper West Region, got destabilized and the rippling effects are manifesting in the prices food products. Alas, we do not know how we are getting over this!

The country felt the impact as many vehicles, particularly, Long cargo vehicles had their journeys truncated. These trucks were parked elsewhere for more than two weeks.

The minister of roads and highways, Hon Amoako Atta paid a visit to the region to assess the extent of damage. On his visit, he promised the good people of the region, that government was to fix the roads temporarily for use while measures were put in place to work on the roads. He also disclosed that about 50 million Ghana Cedis was required to fix the destroyed roads and bridges. Indeed, the major bridges and portions that were cut off, were temporarily fixed and I do commend the government for that swift intervention. What remains unclear is whether the 50 million was meant for the temporary work or the entire real fixing of the roads.

We have been waiting for months, praying to see bulldozers and other heavy equipment to appear, announcing the commencement of work on these roads but our prayers and hopes seem to be in vain.

When the president in January 2022 announced that 2022 is a year of roads, I became excited believing that at least, the roads in Upper West and more especially those in my District which has majority of its roads been feeder roads, would be worked on. As I type, there is no sign of such works. Meanwhile, the rain is preparing to return. Are we waiting for the rain to return and make our case worse? Why do you want to behave like the proverbial grasshopper which, continuously, procrastinates by saying more time, more time... only to be attacked by fire? Or it is the case that the covid-19 has swallowed allocations for that purpose and that our faith should be hanged on endless prayers?

I believe, and same is the truth, the year of roads will really be a year of disappointment if it cannot fix just our old roads that were destroyed. Dear year of roads, please consider our plea. We know you will not give us new roads but help us prevent an almost imminent catastrophe. Per the status quo, our woes will be worsen when the rain returns.

May I also plead with the District and municipal assemblies and our Members of Parliament to work together to help the people now. If we fail to act now, some communities, if not the entire region, will be cut off again during when the rain commences. We just must be proactive than reactionary.

May the year of roads, deliver us from imminent crisis.

Denis Andaban
The Village Boy From DBI

Best Regards,