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President assures extended support for flooded lower Volta communities

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has consoled victims of the Akosombo Dam spillage and assured of both immediate and long-term support. 

The President on Monday paid a special visit to communities inundated by the rising Volta River the Akosombo and Kpong hydro-electric dams spilled excess water to safeguard their operations. 

More than 26,000 people have been displaced in three Regions and President Akufo-Addo, addressing the people of Mepe near Battor, said the Government would offer wholesome support. 

The President, who was away on foreign travels when communities were taken, got his Chief of Staff to head an inter-ministerial committee, whose work he promised would deliver government’s support. 

“I had discussed with the Chief of Staff on what to be done and we agreed on the establishment of an inter ministerial committee to coordinate Government’s response. 

“The coordination is about the immediate tomorrow. Most important thing first of all is to ensure the lives of the people,” he said, noting the establishment of safe havens on the various communities and the continuous relief support by the NADMO. 

President Akufo-Addo, talking about interventions into the future, said the devastation to the agrarian economy of the affected communities was appreciated, and that “the Ministries will decide exactly the nature of support to be given when the water receded. 

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

“The government is going to do everything in its power to assist to make sure everything is solved. 

The President made emphasis of the non-politicisation of the Government’s response to the devastation, and said the dam spillages should be given the needed support to help save the critical infrastructure. 

Many including the affected question the rationale for such devastating water control schedule, but the President believed the Volta River Authority (VRA), operators of the water walls continued to serve the nation’s best interest. 

“We should be grateful for the work of the VRA,” he said, adding that, “the preparedness they have been making over the years to deal with such a situation and we are grateful to God there has been no loss of life because of the good preparatory works done. 

“The dam is a great national asset that must be safeguarded, and the VRA needs commendation.” 

The President promised victims repeated visits to ensure full restoration of the communities. 

“I give you my assurance that whatever is within the powers of the Government that can be done, I give you my word that it will be done.” 

A briefing by heads of the NADMO said displaced individuals crossed 26,000 and listed affected districts to include the Tongu districts, Ada East, Anlo, Asuogyaman, and the Shai Osudoku districts. 

READ  Govt outlines six-month resettlement plan for Akosombo Dam spillage victims

The Tongu Districts are most hit with close to 20,000 victims, and has become the centre of rescue and recovery support activity greatly supported by the VRA. 

Mr Seji Saji, Deputy Director General of NADMO said nine holding centres were being operated in Mepe, and that stakeholders were supporting the relocation of affected to friends and relatives in other communities. 

He said through a comprehensive data system, victims were being tracked for various support with the North Tongu District Assembly as the emergency operations center. 

He reported to the President how the NADMO had worked together with the VRA on the stimulation phases ahead of water shedding in all downstream districts, and which tested both voluntary and compulsory evacuation. 

But it is clear stakeholders had underestimated the impact of the spilling which begun September 15, and in less than a month, thousands of homes had been totally submerged. 

Mr. Edward Obeng Kenzo, the Deputy CEO of the VRA, said during a press briefing earlier in the day, that the spillage had become non-negotiable, but assured would be over soon. 

“The water is receding per our data collection. It is now at 277.29 meters and the maximum operating level is 277.5, so it needs to recede because it affects the integrity of the dam. 

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‘We don’t envisage to increase the spillage because increasing the spillage by a foot will end up wiping the communities away.” he said, calling on lower Volta districts to support planned dredging of the river to prevent future floods. 

The scenes in flooded communities are thrilling eas boats provided by the military manoeuvre sunken dark neighbourhoods. 

The fear of contamination and sanitation disasters loom as the waters begin to take stench. 

Several community toilets and other sanitation facilities had been submerged and the Ministry of health is racing around seeking to save them from a possible disease outbreaks. 

A health centre has been set up at the St. Kizito Senior High School in Mepe where more than a 1,000 displaced were taking refuge, and Madam Tina Mensah, a Deputy Minister of Health told the GNA the Ghana Health Service operated such facilities in affected communities offering free services including anti-natal services. 

President Akufo-Addo was accompanied by members of the inter-ministerial committee and also Ministers of the affected Regions, and made a first hand assessment of the flood situation. 

Credit: GNA 

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