One Volta Ghana, an advocacy Group, has called on government to marshal the forces of the military field engineers’ regiment for short term and long-term solution to avert the catastrophe that do characterise the Akosombo dam spillage.
In a Press Release, the Group indicated that the security forces and traditional authorities and district assembly members should also harness resources to prevent unscrupulous people who may want to take advantage of the situations and extort the communities who are inundated with water.
There must also be helicopters which would be used for surveillance and mapping areas of the communities affected for current solutions and future prevention programs.
“It is incumbent to develop a total framework by professionals and not political hatchet men to deal with explaining and execution of disasters”
The Group however expressed disappointment in President Akufo-Addo and his cabinet ministers for their failure to visit the flood affected areas in the Lower Volta Basin.
According to the group, despite the devastation the Akosombo and Kpong dams’ spillage has visited on thousands of people in the area, neither the President nor his cabinet have made it a priority to visit the affected communities and sympathise with the people.
“Our disappointment cannot be measured when we view that since the spillage and consequent untold hardships and havoc visited on the people of the Volta Region lying downstream of the Akosombo dam the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, had not made a trip to the affected areas neither had his Vice President or any of his senior cabinet members,” the group said in a press statement.
Below is the Full Release
PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY ONE VOLTA GROUP (OVG) IN THE FACE OF INUNDATION OF SIGNIFICANT PORTIONS OF VOLTA REGION
15th October 2023
For immediate release
In the past one and a half weeks we view with trepidation, utmost concern, hopelessness, and helplessness as we watch the complete devastation of the lives, the livelihoods, dangers to life and property to those living in the downstream areas of the Volta River dam at Akosombo. Initially we thought it was an aberration seeing sections of Agbozume, areas in Keta lagoon, Aflao and others flooded.
We thought it was the usual drainage issues in the affected communities until the flooding of the riverine areas which then informed us about actions taken by VRA because of the flood waters flowing from upstream threatening the collapse of the Akosombo Dam. Our hope of return to normalcy immediately evaporated giving way to despondency when we realized that we were not dealing with mere local rainfall but external massive flow of water.
Our disappointment cannot be measured when we view that since the spillage and consequent untold hardships and havoc visited on the people of the Volta Region ling downstream of the Akosombo dam the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, had not made a trip to the affected areas neither had his Vice President or any of his senior cabinet members.
We thank the Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa for visiting some of the affected areas. The President left the shores of Ghana to the United States when some sections were already inundated. We consider this inhumane, uncaring, and bothering on insensitivity and demonstration as if the lives of the people of the Volta Region do not matter. It is the responsibility of the central government of any Republic to protect the rights and welfare of its citizen irrespective of where they live. The case of Ghana seems different from this NPP administration. We are wondering whether the same attitude can be shown to other citizens facing this unforetold disaster through no fault of theirs.
While we recognize that universal climate change issues might have contributed to torrential rains which culminated to excessive water which threatened the possibly collapse of the dam and its subsequent effects and the VRA authorities have to do the needful, we believe it goes to the unfortunate core of lack of maintenance culture as well as competent forecasting and planning in our governance and bureaucracy which would have mitigated the disastrous consequences.
For example, did the VRA engineers note what was happening in the world with record rainfalls and flooding? Was there an emergency planning committee as to what should be done in the event of excessive rain following existing protocols or developing contingency plans? Were those living downstream who would be affected notified and how early? One wonders why the VRA engineers are now visiting affected areas days after the spillage have occurred. We consider that too late too soon!! If the spillage was well planned why were the people of Ghana not informed in advance or advised should have on a higher ground
It is no gainsaying that since the construction of the Volta Dam the people of the Volta Region have endured most damage than any other region in Ghana.
Environmental damage through inundation of massive faming lands, virgin forests and evacuation of ancestral homes to new locations with minimal compensation, paid and unpaid. We recall with sadness the destroying of fishing of fresh water shrimps, fresh water fish, crabs and others from Anyanui to other coastal areas.
We also note with disappointment how many years it took to have electricity extended to the Volta Region from the National grid. The continues saga has now turned from drought to excessive water which has taken over houses, some at window levels, some at roofing levels, people are trapped, some individuals are drowning snakes biting people in the water resulting in deaths. This calamity has been exacerbated beyond what happened in the floods of 1963 and 1968 and no lessons were learned.
As of going to press we can say with certainty that 101 communities with tens of thousands of people have been affected with the spillage and still counting (Central Tongu District 30, South Tongu 22, North Tongu 23, Keta District 10, Anlo 16).
We are concerned about disaster wrecked on these communities such as deaths due to drowning, sleep deprivation of the people affected with consequent mental health issues, closure of educational and medical facilities, massive loss of farmlands, business, and personal property, waterborne diseases, desecration of sacred and religious sites to mention a few. We are concerned about the present and future health effects on these communities.
We suggest the Nana Akuffo led government do the needful and consider the following as soon as possible Immediate resettlement of the people with full cost borne by government Set up a high-level committee including the indigenes as to how we got here and those who were negligent face disciplinary actions.
Have a listing of all individuals affected by the disaster for compensation. This list and compensation should be audited and results be released.
Marshall the forces of the military field engineers’ regiment for short term and long-term solution. Call on the security forces and traditional authorities and district assembly members to harness resources to prevent unscrupulous people who may want to take advantage of the situations and extort the communities who are inundated with water
Use helicopters for surveillance and mapping areas of the communities affected for current solutions and future prevention programs. It is incumbent to develop a total framework by professionals and not political hatchet men to deal with explaining and execution of disasters
Thank you and may the Almighty bless Ghana. Long live the Homeland
1.Professor Anthony Mawuli Sallar (+1 614 584 3994) Head of Communications (OVG) Signed
Mr. Prosper Agbenyega (+233 55 769 7590) Deputy Head of Communications