A heavy stench of rotting trash permeates the air at Kpeshie Lagoon, a storm drain in Teshie that is known to claim the lives of some who dare to cross it whenever it rains.
Kpeshie Lagoon used to be a river, but has since turned into a storm drain that is supposed to prevent flooding in the town. Instead, the reverse happens. Heavy rainfall almost always overwhelms the drain, engulfing the area with water.
Even worse, a swarm of trash now floats atop the drain, which clogs it and carries an unpleasant smell. When it rains, garbage litters the entire community, damaging property along with it, and essentially, taking lives.
What has resulted is a community left angered by the government’s refusal to come to their aid. Determined to find resolve, community residents decided to dredge the lagoon themselves. For weeks, they emptied the lagoon with their own hands, and successfully cleared the trash.
The pile of trash residents in Teshie collected from Kpeshie Lagoon. Source: Myjoyonline
But now a pile of trash sits alongside the dilapidated bridge on top of the lagoon. A community resident, whose name has been withheld, told JoyNews Monday afternoon that calls to the District Assembly to come to their aid have been left unanswered.
“If it rains heavily again, the trash will go back into the storm drain,” she sighed.
Harsh memories relived
Last year, Myjoyonline first reported about Kpeshie Lagoon, which swallowed the vehicle of Dr. Aya Hayfron, a medical doctor who attempted to cross the drain on a rainy Monday evening. She was found dead the next morning.
Aya Hayfron is a medical doctor who recently completed her housemanship at Ridge Hospital. Source: Family photo
Around 7 PM, Hayfron left home and headed to church where she was leading a meeting for her congregation’s choir. Her husband, Bernard Kofi Agyei Oppong, says shortly after she left, he fell asleep, but torrential downpour woke him. For her safety, he called his wife advising her to spend the night at her parent’s house, which was closer to her church. No answer.
An hour later, she called informing him she was trapped at the lagoon. He rushed out of the house - leaving behind a crying baby - and fought flood waters, in hopes he could help her.
He found her car trapped at the lagoon and said that at some point, the waters were above his waist. He swam to her car, but as he got closer, her vehicle slowly slid into a lagoon. Helpless, he watched his wife disappear. It was the last time he saw her.
“It’s hard to describe how I feel,” Oppong told Joy FM. “At some points, I can’t breathe. My heart aches.”
Following her death, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Eugene Boakye Antwi, told JoyNews’ Raymond Acquah that he expresses his “deepest sympathy and condolences with Dr. Hayfron’s family.”
He explained that the Ministry planned to invest GH¢200 million to dredge drains throughout the country, including drains in Teshie, Nima, Kaneshie, Nungua, West Legon, Kasoa, among others.
Eugene Boakye Antwi is the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing.
Almost a year later, Teshie residents say nothing has been done. They are pleading with the government to reverse what has seemingly become the new normal for many of Ghana’s weak infrastructure needlessly taking lives.
“It makes you wonder why absolutely nothing has happened,” said Myjoyonline’s Malik Daabu. “It’s regrettable.”
The Ministry of Works and Housing did not immediately respond to Myjoyonlie’s request for comment.
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