Thousands are left stranded as Ghana destroys slum homes to prevent flood deaths
June 29, 2015 Residents of Sodom and Gomorrah, a popular slum in Accra were the first major victims of a demolition exercise the government of Ghana is undertaking to prevent another repeat of the deadly floods incident of June 4th. The floods led to the deaths of over a hundred people who were taking shelter from these floods at a gas station, when fire broke out.
City authorities say buildings within 100 meters of the Korle lagoon will be bulldozed and bulldozers razed hundreds of homes and businesses in the poor neighborhood so the authorities could start widening the lagoon. Nii Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, shed more light on their activities:
“It is very wrong that those who have come to settle here would use the sawdust to fill the Korle lagoon. That is why, that’s what has contributed to the floods we had recently. Anytime it rains, this lagoon used to be very big, now look at the size of it, they are filling it on a daily basis. When the incident happen, we went up there with a helicopter and we saw what they are doing,”
“We’re seriously having meetings with donor countries people to help us get money and put up absolute structures for them. That’s what we have been doing for some weeks now, and we are going to raise the money. We’ll get it, but we have to look for the land. That’s also very important,”
Expectedly, some residents complained about the decision, they also complained that they were maltreated by security forces who sprayed them with tear gas after they threw stones to protect their livelihoods from the bulldozers. One of the residents Hafiz Adamu narrated what happened:
“My people say the 100 meters is too much, and they say they will not understand and they (security personnel) also say they will not understand and they will do what they like. So they were destroying things and my peoples also throw stones, and they start to blow them with tear gas,”
President John Mahama had earlier told reporters that the government respected the rights of people living in the neighborhood, and would move them gradually.