Thank you,Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to add my voice to the Statement ably made by the Hon Majority Chief Whip.
Mr Speaker, today is indeed a sad day, and a sad day is today. The number of people reported dead is something that I do not remember has ever happened in the history of this country on a single occasion such as this. I would like to extend my sympathy to the families who have lost their relatives and those who have lost their homes.
Mr Speaker, as the Hon Majority Chief Whip said, there was a particular picture that came out among all the various catastrophes, and it was a picture of a mother and an infant. My understanding was that the child could have been a year or two. It looks to me the child was clutching for help, so you can see the child holding on to the mother, but there was no help.
Mr Speaker, we have been aware of the situation of this country for quite a while, and it is about time that we came together as a country to take these flooding issues serious. We must set up a ministry, a committee, or a board to look into it other
than the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the time has come for us to do just that.
Yesterday, thousands of people were under siege. I was under siege myself, and other Members of Parliament as well. Indeed, one of the female Members of Parliament almost got drowned yesterday. She had to leave her car and swim in the water for help. When she got to the office or the place where other people were she started crying out for help because the water was rising in the house and getting through the stairs.
Hon Freda Prempeh went through a disastrous situation yesterday, and our hearts go to herself, her driver and her family who were with her.
Mr Speaker, out of the many people who have died so far, many of them have been reported as women and children, the group that I call vulnerable in this country. I think certain steps need to be taken.
I am not saying that there is going to be flooding all the time, but if swimming is something, a necessary sport that has to be undertaken in every school, then the time has come for every school to make arrangements to have some kind of swimming lessons, because we are being told that some of them who did not know how to swim could not help it and just fell in the water.
It is time to begin to teach in our schools disaster subjects such as flooding. Houses are getting burnt because of this power outages and all that. The time has come for us to teach in our schools as compulsory, a subject as disaster relief programmes, so that every child and every adult will know what to do in such circumstances. This is because, indeed, I believe that some of these people could
have been saved if they knew what to do at a particular time.
Taking the story of the filling station, we were told that as the petrol began to mix with the flood - I believe if the people there had some education on what could happen in the next ten minutes as they stood by, perhaps, theywould have run to save their lives. But they just looked on - some attempted to sweep the place off, they tried to fetch out water and petrol mixed together. Little did they know that the moment that any sort of electricity or fire came out, they would all be dead.
Mr Speaker, a lot of constituencies in this country, including Tema West are all flooded. I had to come out of my House last night to save a little boy of twelve years, who was drowning at the Lashibi area, and that almost cost my own life.
The time has come,Mr Speaker, to save the citizens of this country. We should not pay lip service to what has happened and shove it under the table when the sun comes out tomorrow. We must take this very seriously, and work on it immediately.
The Committee on Roads and Transport, of which I am a Member, needs to sit up to scrutinise the kind of engineers and road contractors that we have. It looks as if all the roads and drains that were certified as all right are all blocked. Something must be wrong, and we cannot wait for people to die in this country; women and children to suffer.
There are thousands of women and children out there right now, who do not have a place to stay. It then becomes the problem of National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO). This is not one of the issues that NADMO can take care of. This is an issue which calls for an emergency solution.
I was very happy when I heard this morning that His Execllency the President has asked the Minister for Finance to