Ghana

Akosombo Spillage: 26,000 residents displaced by floods • 8,000 victims rescued •Inter-Ministerial c’ttee tours affected areas

 More than 26,000 residents of commu­nities along the Volta lake basin have been displaced following the spillage of the Akosombo Dam.

According to Deputy Director-General of the National Disaster Management Or­ganisation (NADMO), Seji Saji, the most affected communities were Mepe, Battor, Sogakope and other areas in the North Tongu, South Tongu and Central Tongu Districts in the Volta Region.

He said that, currently, more than 8,000 victims have been rescued and provided safe havens in schools and camps set-up by NADMO and the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

He was speaking at Mepe in the North Tongu District yesterday when an In­ter-Ministerial team visited the area to obtain firsthand information about the disaster and donate relief items to the victims.

The team, led by the Minister of State, in-charge of Rural Development and Decentralisation, Osei Bonsu Amoah, included the Deputy Ministers of Infor­mation and Energy, Fatima Abubakar and Andrew Agyapa Mercer respectively and other heads of agencies.

Mr Saji said, NADMO was working with all the other agencies to provide water and needed food supplies to the victims.

He said, NADMO established nine holding centres which were serving as the safe havens for the affected residents add­ing that the North Tongu District Assem­bly had been designated as the emergency control centre to enable coordination of activities.

Following the incident, he stated that, majority of those affected had moved to live with their relatives and friends in Mepe, which had made it difficult for them to be identified for support.

Edward Obeng Kenzo, Dep­uty Chief Executive Officer, in-charge of Engineering and Operations, VRA, said the Authority would by December this year commence the dredging of the lower Volta Basin to allow for free flow of water into the sea.

The exercise, he noted, was also aimed at forestalling flood­ing in communities along the Volta Lake downstream in future as well as the protection of lives and property.

He said the Authority had engaged the services of three dredging companies in the country for the exercise.

Mr Kenzo noted that the VRA was projecting that the water inflow into the Akosombo Dam was likely to reduce by the end of October this year.

Although the spillage of the Dam was destructive for the residents downstream, he explained that, it was necessary to save the facility, which was a critical infrastruc­ture, from collapse.

He noted that, the dam was currently operating beyond the maximum allowable limit adding that, per the Authority’s pro­jections, the water inflow into the dam was likely to reduce as the level of the Volta Lake was gradually receding.

“We have set aside enough funds to ensure all the affected victims are supported to have their lives back and live comfortably.

We want to assure the residents and commu­nities affected by the latest spillage that no one will be left behind as we have intensi­fied the distribution of relief items,” Mr Kenzo added.

Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Letsa cautioned the residents against consuming water from the lake due to the threats of water-related diseases.

He said the health risks would be too burdensome on the people, hence the need to follow strictly health caution issued by the authorities.

He noted that the Regional Coordinating Council had collaborated with NADMO to provide safe drinking water to all the residents and charged them to call the emergency numbers for support.

On behalf of the team, Mr Mercer, appealed to the community leaders to sup­port the efforts of government as it works to save lives and protect the dam.

“Let me assure you that government will continue to collaborate with the leadership ofVRA, NADMO and the other disaster management agencies to ensure the neces­sary interventions are provided to allevi­ate the burden imposed on the affected persons,” he added.

 FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, MEPE

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