Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - Hundreds of businesses, large and small, have started counting their costs after they were inundated by hours of torrential rains that hit the capital on Wednesday night through the early hours of Thursday.
Properties, including new and old vehicles, new office accessories, electrical appliances, spare parts of different makes for different items,
On the Graphic Road, for instance, companies such as Toyota Ghana, Rana Motors, Hyundai, Auto Parts, Regent University College and Pepsi Cola had their premises completely submerged under water and many vehicles in their showrooms destroyed.
On the stretch behind Toyota Ghana, scores of companies, including STC Transport, Starwin and Zenith Bank, were all seriously affected by what many have described as Accra’s worst disaster in recent years.
At the Kaneshie Market and the Abossey Okai spare parts area, many stalls suffered a similar fate just as those at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area were not spared by flood waters.
Those at Caprice who sell used motorbikes, carpets and vehicle parts also suffered the ordeal as water from the giant Alajo drains overflowed onto the streets and swept everything in its path.
A visit to some of the areas worst affected showed many shop owners scooping the water gathered in their stalls and offices with buckets and any other material they could lay hands on.
Those who managed to salvage some of their properties had placed them outside their premises to dry in the sun. They told the Daily Graphic team that the damage caused by the floods run into several millions of Ghana cedis.
The mangers from Toyota and the other car companies were not officially available for comment but some of the senior officials who were standing outside the premises as the workers scooped the water out with buckets and water pumps said “for now we can’t tell the cost because we are assessing the extent of the damage.”
They were, however, confident that their insurers would take the liability and compensate accordingly.
Under such circumstances, many businesses are found wanting because of the heavy debts they incur as a result of the disaster. Many of the people the paper spoke with complained about the heavy debt they that had incurred because of bank loans they took to stock their stalls and shops.
Mr Kwame Aboagye, a spare parts dealer at Caprice, said: “men, they say, don’t cry but I have wept my heart out because of the heavy losses I have incurred and I do not know how to settle my bank loan facility.” Others around his shop expressed similar sentiments and wondered the way forward.
This disaster and its impact on the businesses have once again ignited the debate on the need for the insurance commission to push for businesses and residents to insure their premises against such disasters.
An insurance consultant, Mr Edgar Wiredu, who spoke on an Accra radio station, said the cost of the floods and its damage to properties would run into billions of Ghana cedis.
He said the beneficiaries would be the companies, mostly large ones that had insured their premises, adding that those that had not insured, together with those who have lost relatives, would now have a ‘social problem”.
According to him, it was now time for people to take what he described as occupiers liability, which means that the occupants of the properties will be covered by the insurance so that in case of such disasters, not only would the insurance cover the building and other properties but the occupants as well.
Most of the companies, particularly the small ones, have not been insured and the owners are now grieving because of the losses.
Apart from the bigger companies that have their premises insured against floods, many are those which have no such cover and have to rely on other sources to raise funds to restart their businesses.
At many other corporate institutions which were not affected by the flood, productivity was expected to be low because many of the workers did not report to work early or had to leave early because of a weather announcement that warned of a similar storm later in the day.
Those who found themselves in the offices spent many hours discussing the aftermath of the floods and sympathising with the bereaved.