By Eugene Davis
Government has so far embarked on 370 desilting projects representing 96percent which have been completed, Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye has told parliament.
Appearing before parliament to deliver a statement on measures being undertaken by the Ministry to address flooding challenges in the country, he said 84 drainage channel construction projects representing 42percent have been completed, with the remaining 118 at various stages of completion.
Mr. Asenso-Boakye stated that since 2018, government has committed GHc450m to the National Flood Control Programme, aimed at allocating resources towards enhancing the flood resilience of vulnerable communities.
It has become increasingly evident that human activities, the minister noted are severely impeding the government’s efforts to tackle the issue of flooding.
The observations include: Filling of lagoons and wetlands with construction materials for development purposes; Building on drainage channels, hence blocking the free flow of stormwater; Dumping of solid waste in drains, thereby reducing their capacity to hold stormwater; and Gaps in the enforcement of planning laws and building regulations by the MMDAs.
Flooding A National Security Issue
Further he also disclosed that Cabinet has declared the country’s perennial flooding that continue to affect lives, livelihood and properties as a national security issue.
The executive, the minister says has called on the various law enforcement agencies to play a critical role to address the challenge.
In view of this, Cabinet has therefore constituted a committee to develop a comprehensive plan with appropriate measures to strengthen the enforcement of laws relating to lands and siting of buildings.
The Committee comprises of Minister of National Security as its Chairperson with Ministers of Works and Housing, Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Sanitation and Lands and Natural Resources as the other members.
With the increasing risk of flooding across the country, largely due to inadequate drainage infrastructure, improper solid waste disposal, disregard for planning rules and regulation, and rapid urbanization, among others, the sector Minister is optimistic the decision by government will go a long way to trigger the holistic approach needed to mitigate the challenge and bring relief to the citizenry.
Having observed constructions on waterways with blatant disregard for the laws, Asenso-Boakye assured of his Ministry’s continuous engagement with the Ministry of National Security in seeking support for the Assemblies to enforce planning laws and building regulations.
“My Ministry will also continue engagement with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development to strengthen the support provided to the Assemblies in addressing the issue of buildings in waterways and drainage buffers.” he said.