How Social Media Was Used by Ghanaians During the #AccraFloods.
Its been four days now since the floods hit my beloved city of Accra. Four days since the country lost more than 100 people who also died in a fire during an explosion at a Goil filling station during the flood disaster.
Others also died getting swept away by the waters. A disaster which will forever be ingrained in the minds of Ghanaians and one which might lead to a citizenry stand against poor infrastructural works on drains, poor waste management by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and even a stand against our own indiscriminate way of littering the city.
For once as I checked my Facebook timeline, it wasn’t ‘flooded’ with posts of songs, photos of last night’s dinner and rants about ex-relationships. I am not complaining though but sometimes I cant help but wonder about our use of social media in Ghana. This time it was different. Here I was thousands of miles away in New York and I was getting up to the minute updates on the flood situation in the city. Here was citizenry reportage at work. Every post was a personal update on where they were and what was happening around them.
People were sharing how they were stuck in traffic flooded areas, some shared emergency numbers for NADMO whilst others witnessed other horrific incidents as they happened. Others created websites to collate useful information on the floods whilst others shared photos on their current situation.
Some journalists also used their personal profile page to share any information they had from their newsroom pages.
It was shocking and unbelievable!
There was more information provided by individuals than even on NADMO's Facebook page which eerily had its page last updated in July 2014, or other emergency provider social media pages.
Twitter wasn't any different.
Others reported of missing persons which i desperately hoped weren't pranks on others knowing full well how some people share things just to get retweets.
Educational Institutions like Achimota School shared useful information for people to go by to avoid being caught in the floods.
After the floods, now comes a flood of what must be done. Are these going to be sustainable solutions to these annual floods? Or is the government going to be accepting funds to fix damaged areas but 'chop' it on the quiet? As for Oko Vanderpuye, the Accra Mayor who accepts awards for work not done, there is a growing disquiet for him to save face and resign. I will add my disquiet to that growth. He can admit failure but resign in his failure...no.
Just like i wrote last year about how these floods aren't going to stop anytime soon, so also are people saying again this year on the possibility of a recurrence next year.
Well done to all who shared any form of update during the floods. We must start using hashtags more effectively to round up stories happening around us for easy collation. Too often on Facebook especially does one find hashtags like #GodIsWithUs #ThisCantBeHappening. Lets try and use a singular hashtag for effective story collation.
How were you affected by the #AccraFloods? Do you think Oko Vanderpuye should resign from his post? What will you do to make Accra prone free?