It started as a normal Wednesday, just like today. Students bade farewell to their parents as they left for school. Workers turned the keys in their doors, and like the typical Ghanaian attitude, pushed it in an attempt to force it open, just to be sure it was properly locked.
Little did these individuals from varied backgrounds know that the steps they took off their doormats would be their last.
Their families would have to wake up the next morning to the news their ghastly departure from earth as the June 3 fire and flood disaster claimed their lives leaving behind relatives begging for a miracle to resurrect the departed souls.
The phenomenon that faithful evening at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, which would later be described as the June 3 disaster, hit the country like a hurricane leaving hundreds of people who managed to escape sustaining various degrees of injuries that would plague them for a lifetime.
Many of these scares serve mark for that red-letter day constantly reminding the nation…‘Never Again.’
Five years since the June 3 disaster in Accra. We remember the lives lost and their families on this day.— Accra We Dey (@AccraWeDey) June 3, 2020
A few things to reflect on:
What has changed?
How have our leaders responded?
What part can we play to prevent/stop the flooding in Accra?#AccraWeDey #AccraFloods pic.twitter.com/VCij7sf5wI
This phrase, even after this awakening event would remain a rhetoric.
The torrential rains in parts of the capital which caused this colossal loss could have been easily avoided through the existence of effective drainage systems.
Many of Ghana’s flooding incidents have been as a result of inadequate gutters, storm drains among other facilities that ensure the free flow of water during heavy downpour.
Subsequent administrations have paid lip service to the commitments to construct more of these facilities.
However, efforts have been made occasionally to desilt some of the major drains. Five years down the line, Ghanaians could not be any less baffled about the extent to which the situation has stayed unchanged.
Recent flooding of different suburbs in the capital, including the infamous Nkrumah Circle where hundreds lost their lives, is an indictment on any purported effort to solve the social canker.
John Mahama’s erstwhile government, which suffered the sharp tongues of opposition then, completed a beautiful interchange aimed at reducing traffic congestion at the location, which is one of the busiest in the country.
But less than two years after his rather deserving ousting from office, the beautiful spectacle can be rightly described as a botched project. Not only has the fountain which used to light up at night been rendered useless but the interchange has no effective drain system which causes the road to flood badly when rains heavily.
The very location which led us to trumpet Never Again, was it all a joke? Was the three-day mourning we observed all for the cameras?
All the interventions from corporate bodies and the government to aid the families of the departed and to compensate the survivors though appreciated, the core of the problem still stares as in the face as the rains return annually.
Today marks exactly 5 years of June 3 Flood And Fire Disaster at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Accra.— JayTom (@danso_papa) June 3, 2020
RIP to every soul lost on that day❤🙏 pic.twitter.com/EWE5FYGxBS
Minority members in Parliament have had the cause to slam the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, in May, over his failure to release funds to the desilting of drains, a confirmation that we have learned absolutely nothing.
In Kaneshie, one of the hotspots for flooding in the capital, progress on the drain expansion, juxtaposed with the gravity of the issue is far from encouraging.
The fact that we continue building in waterways is itself a shame.
Nonetheless, if we can find money to pay over 120 Ministers, surely simple drains which would ensure that the voters who would ensure the 125 Ministers keep their jobs should be no big deal.
Perhaps we are waiting for a repeat to sit up.