Human activities continue to expose Ghanaians to all manner of risks in all parts of the country, in spite of many alerts from development planners about the dangers inherent in those acts of indiscipline.

Kasoa dangerThe recent floods, which claimed at least 159 lives in Accra, were partly blamed on choked drains resulting from the lack of respect for basic sanitation practices.

Another catastrophe looms around settlements on the Akoasa Mountain, near the Kasoa Toll Booth on the Accra-Winneba road, in the event of any slight movement of the earth, not to talk about an earth tremor or earthquake.
This is because houses on the top and the edges of the mountain risk being destroyed anytime there will be a heavy downpour in the area.

Last Sunday?s rain resulted in a muddy pool on the Kasoa-Accra road, causing a major traffic jam on the stretch.

GSD Warning

The Geological Survey Department (GSD) has warned that a major catastrophe awaits the area if the massive development going on in the settlement is not controlled.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic, the Deputy Director of the GSD, Dr Thomas Kwasi Adu, said given that the area was a high earthquake zone, unpredictable rainfall patterns, days of continued rain could spell doom for communities at the edge of the mountain and, to some extent, those on top of it.

?All that debris by the roadside is coming from the surface of the mountain. If it rains continuously and the mountain soaks so much, we can have a major landslide coming down and all those buildings close to the mountain will end up in a disaster,? he said.
Dr Adu, who questioned the rationale behind issuing building permits for the construction of houses and churches in the area, said such development amounted to provoking nature.

?People building close to the hill should be checked. We have to learn from other countries. Anytime there is a landslide, the people who go first are those close to mountains.

?They should have left some buffer at the edge of the hills so that when it is flooded, the force will reduce by the time it gets to the permissible zone to reduce the impact.
?From that side to Nyanyanor is a major earthquake zone, so if you are on the zone and you have built close to a steep mountain, you are endangering your life,? he emphasised.

Current situation

A visit to the area on Tuesday showed a gaping hole from the quarrying activities from where volumes of water from the mountain washes down sediments onto the road.

In the absence of proper drainage in the settlements, running water and mud from the hills create deep gullies and end up on the road.
Meanwhile, the development in the area is stripping the land of its vegetative cover. Experts say the soil in the area is loose, making the area susceptible to erosion.

A section of the mountain, which became a major source of gravel for the construction of the Mallam-Kasoa road, has, over the years, been taken over by sand winners and people who make a living at a nearby quarry.
The area is not new to mudslide.

In June 2013, loose parts of the mountain fell and blocked the Kasoa-Weija portion of the road after a heavy downpour, resulting in a traffic jam for hours.

Apart from the houses competing for space, churches have also sprung up?the biggest among them being the Great Fire Pentecostal International Ministry, popularly known as Bonegas Church.

The church?s temporary structure, which has a capacity to accommodate more than 2,000 worshippers sits less than 100 metres from the mountain.
When the Daily Graphic visited the church, the trail of the flood could be seen on the floor of the church with a drain nearby filled with sand.

A resident of the area, Mercy Adeve, said there had been no time that the mudslide or flood from the mountain had entered her home, adding that the dirt usually piled on the street.

Mr Romeo Torkornoo, one of the many people who drive on the Accra-Kasoa road daily, accused the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) of negligence given the fact that the situation had been recurrent for years.
?The whole thing appears to be an engineering deficit. I am surprised that no solution has been found to this problem all these years,? he added.

GHA speaks

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Public Affairs Director of the GHA, Mr Norbert Quarmor, acknowledged the challenge and said lack of funds had prevented the contractor who regularly cleared the drains along the road of silt from doing so.
He said ordinarily, the gutters should collect the mudslide, but since the drains were choked most of the time, the mud and the running water spilled onto the road.

He said the authority had contacted the Ga South District Assembly to control the rate of development in the area to prevent stripping the area bare.

Some landslides in Ghana

June 15, 1933

A landslide occurred on a section of the Akwapim-Togo Range where Have in the Volta Region is located but no major disaster was recorded.

March 5, 2005

The entire Afram Plains District and part of the Kwahu South District were cut off from the rest of the country as a result of a landslide at Kam, a village near Pitiku Junction in the Eastern Region, following a heavy downpour.
The first landslide in the area occurred in 1972.

June 20, 2010

A heavy downpour triggered a landslide on the Peduase-Water Works road, a stretch of the Pantang-Mamfe dual carriageway in the Eastern Region.
The landslide occurred close to a two-storey building on the edge of a rocky mountain, blocking part of the road.

October 6, 2010

A landslide that occurred during a heavy downpour at Adukrom-Yensi in the Eastern Region killed three people and destroyed many properties.

October 25, 2012

Twenty acres of cocoa farm was destroyed at Wassa Asikuma and Wassa Nkran in the Prestea Huni/Valley District in the Western Region following a heavy rainfall which affected 60 cocoa farmers.


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