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Akosombo dam spillage: We took the right decisions to prevent massive disaster, says VRA

The Volta River Authority (VRA) says the right decisions and responses were made before and after the recent dam spillage.

 Addressing a VRA–Ghana Institution of Engineers dialogue in Accra, the CEO of VRA, Emmanuel Antwi Darkwa, said the absence of deaths in the recent spillage is a testament to the fact that the right decisions were taken by the VRA management before and after the spillage. 

 Antwi Darkwa said the situation could have been worse if the response mechanism was not very effective.

 He said, “We empathise with those who have been affected by this spillage. Those affected by this spillage are part of us; we have so many employees who come from these areas. Some of our plant managers come from Mepe, so when something happens to the people of Mepe it affects us. 

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 “I’ve had the opportunity to go to the safe havens and really to move from your house and be relocated, however short it is, it is so traumatic.” 

 “So we can understand the public outcry, how people feel but there is always a balance for a dam manager; there’s always something for you to juggle between maintaining the integrity of the dam and the consequences of what you do when you protect a dam,” he said.

Antwi Dankwa added, “We took all the good engineering decisions to ensure that balance continues to stay.”

 Commendation

Meanwhile, Philip Kamara Faley, a senior technical researcher at Anglo West Africa and the AU Commission, Governance and Accountability Project, has said the Volta River Authority (VRA) must be commended for how it managed the Akosombo dam spillage.

He said the situation could have been worse if the VRA had not handled the spillage properly.

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Speaking with Emmanuel Aboagye-Wiafe on the 12 O’Clock Report on Assase 99.5 Thursday (2 November) Faley said, “What happened with the VRA with regards to the spillage can technically be termed as a controlled dam spillage and this has been well-managed …as compared to what has happened in some more structured societies like the US, China and Italy…So VRA has been able to minimise the situation… the simulation exercise helped to minimise the negative effect of the spillage.”

“… All of these mechanisms helped very grossly to be able to manage the damage as compared to other countries…I think VRA needs a tap on the back for trying to mitigate the level of destruction that happened,” he added.

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However, Faley said there is more to be done by the VRA so that such a catastrophe does not occur again.

 The VRA started the spillage at the Akosombo and Kpong dams, both in the Eastern Region, on 15 September 2023, following a rise in the water level of both reservoirs due to appreciable levels of rainfall.

At least 39,000 individuals in nine districts have been displaced after excess water was spilt from the Akosombo and Kpong dams, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has said.

The affected districts include almost all the communities along the lower Volta Basin, resulting in widespread power cuts in the affected communities. The districts affected are Central Tongu, North Tongu, South Tongu, Ada West, Ada East, Keta, Anlo, Shai Osudoku and Asuogyaman.

Credit:Asaaseradio

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