Ghana – Accra Floods Again, 1 Missing After 6 Hours of Torrential Rain

Wide areas of Accra, Ghana, are under water after a period of heavy rain that began 09 June 2016. Residents of the city are fearing a repeat of last year’s flood and fire disaster which left over 150 people dead. Ghana Meteorological Agency say that more rain can be expected in the coming days.

The country’s National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has asked residents of flood prone areas to move to higher ground. They have also asked for residents’ co-operation in reporting floods around the city.

The Odaw River has overflown and drainage channels including the Onyasia, Odaw and Nima are full. Local media say that flooded areas of greater Accra include Kwame Nkrumah Circle, parts of Teshie, Airport Residential, Dzorwulu, Achimota and Tse Addo.

Personnel from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the Ghana Police Service (GPS), the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the Ghana National Fire and Rescue Services (GNFRS), are working in the flooded areas. Earlier today, President Mahama thanked them for their efforts.

A local radio station has reported that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has shut down its power station at Dzorwulu due to the high levels of flowing rain water.

In Tema, a few kilometres east of Accra, local media are reporting that a young child is missing in the floods in the area of Tema Site 7.

Rainfall

Initial figures suggest that between 140 and 190 mm of rain fell in 24 hours between 09 and 10 June in some areas of Accra. Most of the rain fell in a 3 to 6 hour period, according to local media. Although this time of year marks the start of the rainy season, this is still a significant amount. Accra would normally expect to see around 221 mm for the whole of June, according to WMO figures.

Elsewhere in the country, Tema recorded 61.9 mm, Akatsi 52 mm and Wenchi 64 mm in 24 hours between 09 and 10 June.

Accra – A City Blighted by Floods

The recent floods in Accra come almost exactly a year after the flood and fire disaster of 2015. Days of torrential rain in early June 2015 resulted in widespread flooding which left many seeking shelter. During the downpour, an explosion on 03 June at a petrol station in Accra left 159 dead and 60 injured.

A Memorial service was recently held in honour of those who perished in last year’s flood and fire outbreak in Accra, where President Mahama laid a wreath.

Memorial service for victims of the Ghana fire and floods disaster of June 2015. Photo: Office of the President of Ghana
Memorial service for victims of the Ghana fire and floods disaster of June 2015. Photo: Office of the President of Ghana

The explosion occurred at the Goil Fuel Station, near GCB Towers in the city. The area, now known as Ground Zero locally, is once again flooded today.

After the 2015 disaster, President Mahama set out some plans for future flood prevention for Accra, in particular unblocking drainage systems and waterways. The National Disaster Management Organisation, the Hydrology Department of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and the City Authorities were to coordinate the clearing and expansion of our waterways and the de-silting of drains. In a statement in June 2015, President Mahama said that “Drastic steps are necessary here if we are to permanently address this perennial problem. We will intensify efforts to expand and modernize our drainage system.”

Recently the Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, announced that around 45 percent of the work on drains and river dredging had been done.

This time of year is the rainy season and Accra is predictably under water by the first week of June, as it did in 2014.

Poor drainage systems which are often blocked by trash and debris, as well as illegal building on flood plains are often cited as aggravating the city’s flood problems.

Korle Lagoon is regularly choked with silt and debris, forcing the Odaw River which flows into it to regularly burst its banks.

A project to upgrade the city’s drainage and flood mitigation was announced in 2013 under the project name of Accra Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Drainage Alleviation Project. Several years on, it is still unclear how far along work on the project currently stands.

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Flood Summary

Last updated: July 13, 2016