Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ghana destroys hundreds of homes in capital in bid to prevent floods

Matthew Mpoke Bigg in Reuters: Bulldozers razed hundreds of homes and businesses in the poor Sodom and Gomorrah neighborhood of Ghana's capital on Saturday so the authorities can start widening a lagoon to prevent a repeat of this month's deadly floods.

Some residents said security forces sprayed them with tear gas after they threw stones to protect their livelihoods from the bulldozers. By evening, thousands were stranded in the rain amid rubble and household goods strewn for more than a mile.

"What they have done is not good for us because this is where some of us work and take care of our families," said scrap metal merchant Muhammed Abdul Karim as he surveyed the wreckage of his shack and the motorized tricycle he uses to haul iron.

Flood control has become an urgent problem for President John Mahama's government since more than 50 people drowned in torrents caused by blocked drains on June 3-4, a tragedy that exposed the country's creaking infrastructure.

The same night 96 people sheltering from the floods at a downtown gas station died when it exploded in the worst disaster in decades in the West African country.

The incidents add to the difficulties facing President Mahama 18 months before the government faces voters in what is likely to be a tight election in one of Africa's more stable democracies....

Jamestown in Accra, shot by Adotey Hoffman, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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