Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has led a government delegation to the Upper East Region to assess the impact of the floods due to torrential rains and spillage of the Bagre and Kompienga dams in Burkina Faso.
For almost three weeks the Region had experienced heavy rains and the situation had further been compounded by the spillage of the two dams leading to loss of lives and destruction of property including houses and farmlands.
The Kobore Bridge on the White Volta in the Bawku West District is submerged as a result creating a large gorge in the precinct making it difficult for people and vehicles to cross to either sides of the bridge.
The Vice President, who visited the Kobore Bridge on Thursday, described the situation as “a disaster” and attributed it to the volumes of water spilled from the two dams.
“We always know about the perennial spillage from the Bagre Dam and as at last year they were spilling around eight million gallons per minute and we were reasonably able to control it. Last year a lot of desilting took place and the impact of the spillage was relatively controlled,” he said.
“But this year, instead of the eight million gallons per minute, they are now spilling about 29 million gallons per minute, which is extremely large and has flooded across the Upper East and North East regions.”
Dr Bawumia said the contractor working on the main Bolgatanga-Bawku-Pulmakom road had already been informed to quickly assess the situation and fix the gorge at the Kobore Bridge as soon as the water receded.
The Vice President, who sympathised with the bereaved families, said government had begun processes to provide relief items for the people.
“What we are most concerned about are lives and livelihoods, we have lost some lives as a result of the rainfall, many famers have lost their livestock, crops and we have to find a way to….provide relief for these farmers because when you lose your farm, that is a year’s income that you have lost and we have to take that into consideration to provide relief for them,” he said.
Dr Bawumia described the disaster as a very sad incident but gave the assurance that government was committed to completing the construction of the Pwalugu multipurpose dam to serve as a flood control mechanism and prevent the perennial flooding that wreaked havoc each year.
“To deal with this problem fundamentally, we have to have a flood control mechanism in the context of the Pwalugu multipurpose dam project, that is the most important antidote to all these problems and that is why we have moved and secured the Pwalugu dam project.”
“This project is going to be the biggest investment in northern Ghana, it is about a billion dollars”.
Dr Bawumia said three contractors were working on the project and had already moved to site but were waiting for the rains to subside to divert the water and begin work.
He undertook an overview of the situation in both the Upper East and North East regions in a helicopter.
In the Upper East Region four persons lost their lives while the North East Region recorded six deaths as a result of the floods.