Rising tide, increasing graves and the lingering shadow of June 3 disaster

Source The Ghana Report

The rain is here again, bringing a familiar and heart-wrenching narrative.

Each downpour carries the potential to leave many with the sad tales of losing a loved one as communities and nations grapple with the aftermath of devasting floods.

The relentless water does not just wash away homes and infrastructure; it sweeps away lives, leaving families in mourning.

For many in Ghana, the current flood reports evoke painful memories of the June 3 disaster in 2015, which occurred precisely nine years ago today.

The tragedy occurred after several hours of torrential rainfall in the capital city, Accra.

During the downpour, fuel leaking from the GOIL station at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange area caught fire in a cigarette stub dropped by a reckless individual, resulting in an explosion amid the floods.

Over 150 people died, and hundreds of people suffered severe burns in the unfortunate incident.

The floods were attributed to blockages in Accra’s main storm drains, resulting from the non-desilting of the drains, including buildings and structures by squatters that had blocked waterways.

The victims, most of whom have been left scarred, with many losing their livelihoods following the tragedy, say life has become unbearable.

The June 3 disaster was a wake-up call for the country and other flood-prone regions worldwide.

It highlighted the critical need for comprehensive urban planning, improved drainage systems and robust disaster preparedness strategies.

However, the recurrence of similar incidents raises the question: have we truly learned from the past?

In this feature, The Ghana Report delves into the poignant stories of individuals who have been swept away by flood waters or died as a result of heavy rains in recent times.

Missing 12-Year-Old Found Dead In Korle Lagoon After Accra Floods

A 12-year-old boy who was reported missing following the torrential rains in Accra was found dead.

The remains of the young boy were found in the Korle Lagoon two days after the rainstorm caused gridlock and flooded parts of the city.

According to a police report, the boy attempted to jump across a gutter but slipped and fell.

He could not escape due to the force of the rushing water, which carried him from the small gutter and eventually into the Korle Lagoon.

His body was found in the lagoon two days later, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

5-Year-Old Girl Dies After Heavy Rains In Kumasi

A five-year-old girl died in rainwaters at Moshie Zongo in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.

The little girl reportedly tried to cross a dilapidated bridge while returning from school on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, but after an hour of rain, she was swept away by floods.

The Assembly Member for the Moshie Zongo Electoral area, Emmanuel Nti Kyei, confirmed the sad news.

The young girl was a student of Utopia International School.

Missing Persons Found Dead After Car Plunges Into Gutter During Heavy Rains

Three persons reported missing were found dead as they plunged into a flooded gutter near the Abattoir Bridge on the Tema Motorway during heavy rains.

The driver, Noel Adams, now deceased, according to family members, was reported missing since Saturday, May 26, when he was last seen alive.

According to his sibling, Adams had picked up two girls from Tema and was heading towards Accra.

Upon reaching the Abattoir Bridge, the area was heavily flooded, blurring his vision as he tried to navigate through the water.

Unfortunately, their car veered off the road and fell into the gutter.

The submerged vehicle was discovered by pedestrians, who notified the police.

12-Year-Old Boy Swept Away By Floods In Tanoso

A 12-year-old boy reportedly died after being swept away by floods at Tanoso in the Ashanti region.

According to an eyewitness, on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, the boy went out to play with his friends despite heavy rains.

Confirming the incident, Assembly Member for Tanoso Electoral Area Aaron Nandie said the boy fell into a gutter and died.

He revealed that the 14-year-old brother was also injured after he attempted to save his brother.

He noted that the boy had been treated and discharged after he was admitted to the hospital.

The body of the deceased had been deposited at a morgue by police in the area.

Man Electrocuted To Death After Tuesday Downpour

A 35-year-old man was electrocuted to death at Mallam, a suburb of Accra, after heavy rains on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

A disconnected electrical cable fell into a pool of water at the entrance of the deceased’s room, and the live wires touched the door of the man’s building.

Unknowingly, he grabbed the door knob to open his door and got electrocuted, leading to his death.

2 Children Swept Away By Floodwaters

Two children were swept away by floodwater at Babadongo near Bortianor in the Ga South Municipality of the Greater Accra region.

The unfortunate incident occurred during the downpour on the dawn of Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

The victims, an 11-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy were escaping the flash waters that had entered their house after the bridge in the area overflowed, flooding the entire region.

However, in their attempt to cross, the children were carried away by the rapid water flow.

Their father reportedly attempted to save his children to no avail.

After residents mounted a search, the bodies of the children were found about a mile away from their house.

6-Year-Old Boy Drowns After Torrential Rains

A six-year-old boy, Papa Atta, met his untimely death after floodwaters swept him away at Tafo Ahenbronum in the Tafo-Pankrono Municipality of the Ashanti region.

According to residents, he slipped and fell into an open gutter while playing in the rain.

The deceased was pronounced dead at the Tafo Government Hospital on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, after residents discovered his body over 200 meters away from the accident scene and rushed him to the facility.

6-Year-Old Girl Dead, Another Missing After Heavy Rains At Kintampo

A six-year-old girl died after being swept by flood waters following torrential rainfall at Kintampo in the Bono-East region.

She was travelling in a tricycle, which was carried away after heavy rains in the area in July 2023.

Female doctor, baby, 4 others die in floods

In June 2018, six persons, including a female medical doctor (Dr Aya Hayfron)  and a two-month-old baby girl, lost their lives during a downpour in parts of Accra and Ho.

The doctor, also a nursing mother, is said to have qualified as a medical officer and was waiting for her posting to do her housemanship.

The Hyundai Accent saloon car driven by the 33-year-old doctor, returning home from an evening church service, was washed away by the flood waters at the Teshie Demo Bridge.

Some onlookers rescued two other persons who were in the car, but they could not save the doctor’s life.

The two-month-old baby girl drowned in a flooded house at Madina in Accra, while the body of an unidentified man was recovered from a drain at Trasacco in the downpour that lasted about seven hours.

In Ho, a grandmother and her two children were electrocuted while they were running away after the roof had been ripped from their kitchen.

What is the way forward?

A multi-faceted approach is essential to mitigate the impact of floods and prevent the tragic loss of lives.

The government must prioritize constructing and maintaining efficient drainage systems and enforce regulations that prevent construction in flood-prone areas.

Public awareness campaigns can educate communities about flood risk and promote behaviours that reduce individual vulnerability.

Investment in early warning from the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) can provide critical lead time for evacuations and other protective measures.

Additionally, community-based disaster response teams can be trained and equipped to act swiftly when floods occur, potentially saving lives and reducing the chaos that often accompanies such events.

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