More than 400 residents are set to be evicted from their homes by Tema Development Corporation (TDC) Thursday morning as the iconic Kaizer Flats are razed.
The TDC is set to demolish four of the multi-storey flats that have developed structural defects and have now become a potential hazard.
Engineers had declared Blocks 407, 408, 410 and 415 at building complex unsafe for human settlement due to their dilapidated nature and therefore had to be demolished.
In all 187 residents, made up of 53 children and 134 adults, were to vacate the flats by the 1st February 2018 according to a court order.The Greater Regional Director of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) says there is the need to deal with potentially disastrous situations before they wreak havoc.
Archibald Cobbina said, “as a nation, we need to wake up to certain realities. We shouldn’t be a nation that would wait for disasters to happen before we see what could be done to help the situations.”
He said this during a familiarisation tour of four blocks of the Kaizer Flats in Tema Community 4.Mr. Cobbina said it was essential that something was done to protect the lives of the people who lived in the affected buildings in their own interest, adding that “almost all the buildings in the Kaizer Flats have serious cracks; all the irons are showing; they are all rusty, and it is not good for human habitation.”
He said, “We will not throw people out on the streets. We have what we call safe havens so that those who genuinely may not have made alternative arrangements may have places to go to. We have sent people around to look at places nearby for them to settle for a couple of days.”
The Presidential Spokesperson on Infrastructure, Mr Richard Asante Yeboah, observed the Kaizer Flats were disasters waiting to happen.
“These are death traps; these are situations which if not curbed now would make us lose a good number of people,” he said.
He added that “There have been other disasters we saw and allowed to happened, but this government was determined to prevent such things from occurring.”
The Assembly Member for Horticulture Electoral Area, which houses the Kaizer Flats, Mr Richard Anning, observed that there were residents who did not know where they were moving to, with some not even having means of transportation so “any assistance they could give us to move peacefully before the Thursday will be appreciated.”
He said there were other blocks which were not different from the four condemned, and therefore suspected that the TDC)had a hidden agenda concerning the other blocks.
“I am begging them, we have 401 to 415 flats. If you look at the twin flats, for instance, they have one staircase and one is considered dangerous and the other declared safe. If one is demolished, how will people on the other flat get to their rooms? So the earlier they make their plans known to us, the better.”
He asked TDC to go through the records to determine who genuinely never benefited from the compensation packages they gave some years ago and compensate them as they have agreed to vacate the facilities.
Mr Isaac Lomotey, the Spokesperson for the affected residents, indicated that about 80 percent of them did not have places to go to “but they would move out of their rooms, maybe they might find spaces around the flats to rest their tired bodies.”
Criticising the inability of the authorities to provide alternative accommodations for them, he said, “They should treat all persons equally, for we are all Ghanaians. As such, if you want to take over your facility, you should look for alternatives for them.”