Government must declare state of emergency on sea devastation along Volta’s coast – Minority

Social Emergency Volta
Emergency Volta

Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, Member of Parliament for Ho West and Chairman, Minority Caucus of Parliament, has said the situation along Volta Region’s coast warrants declaration of state of emergency.

He said the declaration by the government was important to speed up state agency assistance by way of deployment of resources and assets to communities in need of support to alleviate damages, loss and suffering caused by the tidal waves’ attacks over the weekend.

Mr Bedzrah was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Kedzikope when he visited the area as part of his tour with MPs from the coastal constituencies to see the devastation caused by the sea water to homes and people there.

Sea water on Sunday submerged about 300 homes at Kedzikope, Abutiakope and Keta Central in the Keta Municipality rendering about 2,000 people homeless with similar attacks happening at Dzita, Agbledomi and Fuveme (Anloga District) and, Adina Agavedzi, Amutinu and Salakope (Ketu South) over the weekend.

Visits by the GNA to Kedzikope Sunday and Monday saw some displaced persons squeeze themselves and belongings in small available rooms, others crowded at the community centre serving as haven for them, while others also packed their belongings including cooking materials and beds on their heads in search of safer places.

There were others who also decided to stay in their flooded rooms, sleep on top of tables with their children while the majority of the displaced wondered from where their daily bread would come after losing their food items to flood waters and without means to afford any.

Visits by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Volta Region, to all three districts did little to allay fears of the people as the disaster management body was there for “a comprehensive report” and not any mission to provide relief items because Mr Ebenezer Azumah, the acting Regional Coordinator described the situation as “above our capacity as a region.”

Mr Bedzrah said the situation was dire and needed urgent measures to provide essential commodities to the people and find temporary accommodation for them to lessen their suffering, saying he was unhappy with the government’s response so far.

“If you go to one of the houses there, there’s an old lady in the flood. Where will she go? All her food items got destroyed, her belongings taken away by the sea water. So, the government needs to come in now, not tomorrow. It surprises me that nobody from Jubilee House or from any of the Ministries was here to see what is happening to not just the people of Keta but Anlo and Ketu South. None came. It tells you that you don’t care about the people.”

Mr Kwame Dzudzorli Gakpey, MP for Keta, called for equitable distribution of state resources decrying the delay of the current government in completing the phase II of the sea defence project started by previous governments to secure the people and their livelihoods “despite the fact that it has been in the budget for some years.”

He argued against the option of permanent relocation of the people, which would require the state to provide means of livelihood for the people (mostly fishermen) saying that might come at an even higher cost than completing the phase II of the project to sustain the “blue economy” and develop the tourism potentials it held.

There had been consistent calls by residents and stakeholders in the region for government intervention to avert the devastating effects of the sea, which threatened the existence of coastal communities in the region.

Prior to the weekend’s disaster, communities of Salakope and Agavedzi (Ketu South) and Fuveme (Anloga) suffered severe forms of the sea’s devastation during the better part of the year, washing away multiple homes and life-time investment of victims with less severe attacks at Kedzikope and Abutiakope (Keta) and Tegbi (Anloga District) in the second half of 2020.

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