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After the floods, no charity

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When the earthquake wreaked havoc in Haiti earlier in the year, the Mills administration didn’t waste time to demonstrate its generosity to the rest of the world. In a swift response to international aid appeals, the government donated three million dollars to help with the relief effort in Haiti. The president didn’t set up a committee to help him decide how much we should give to Haiti and why.

He just took the decision and Ghanaians had no choice than to live with the fact that our poor country, someway, somehow managed to give out three good million dollars for another impoverished country. Never mind the fact that Haiti was already basking in international sympathy and aid – we just had to live with it.

Six months after that exercise in senseless generosity, hundreds of full-blooded Ghanaians are suffering after their lives were literally washed away by flood waters.

In Ashaiman and Agona Swedru, poor flood-hit Ghanaians are suffering almost as much as the Haitians did when the earthquake struck. They feed on miserly grains by day and sleep in makeshift shelters at night, with opportunistic mosquitoes sucking their blood.

Suddenly, the government that miraculously came up with three million dollars to help Haiti, just can’t seem to come up with enough money to take care of its own. We hear they are going around cup in hand begging individuals and institutions to contribute to a relief fund for the flood victims. Apparently, the National Disaster Management Organisation is almost completely out of relief supplies.

Unlike Haiti, our government set up a taskforce (they don’t like using the word ‘committee’ anymore) to advise the president on how to provide relief for the flood victims. The committee just presented its report and you can bet your last pesewa that the government is going to take its sweet time to “study” it but nothing much will come out of it.

In the meantime, people are suffering. It’s a dire situation.

So why can’t government go to wherever it got the three million dollars for Haiti for almost an equal amount to immediately take care of the flood victims in Ashaiman and Agona Swedru?

I wonder.

Does government care? Maybe not as much as it cares about the Haitiains.

Isn’t it this same government which provided funds for about one thousand football tourists to go to South Africa to watch the World Cup?

If government can pay for people to go and enjoy themselves at the World, I don’t see why Ghanaians should accept the excuse that there is no money to take care of the flood victims. It is a serious blot on national conscience that government seems to want us to sit down and look on as our compatriots live in utter misery, struggling to rebuild their lives and homes, which were washed away by floods which could have been easily prevented.

If government does not move immediately to help the flood victims from Ashaiman and Agona Swedru soon, we are going to have a terrible humanitarian situation on our hands. Whatever blessing government expected to get from dishing out our money to the Haitians will not materialize and all we’d be left with is a big curse to remind us that the man who said “charity begins at home” was not a fool.

 

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