Tongu flooding

With the fast rising flood water levels in the Lower Volta Basin as a result of the continuous spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong hydro dams, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is appealing for more humanitarian support for affected communities.

According to him, the situation is getting dire as more communities are being evacuated and thousands being displaced by the floods.

This, he says, has led to the creation of makeshift camps for those displaced in school compounds and other places across the area.

Considering the large number of affected people, he said the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has been stretched thin and would need additional support to meet rising demand.

“I’ve been in touch with NADMO. The Director General was here himself, he led a high powered delegation and together with the Deputy CEO of VRA, we have talked about the needs of the people. They did bring some initial support, rice, oil and promised to bring a few more items particularly mosquito nets, the tents and all of that. So far I think they’re still mobilising.

“It does appear to me that NADMO is quite overwhelmed and so I would not suggest or recommend that we entirely depend on NADMO. It will be great to have corporate Ghana, to have NGOs, other philanthropists come to our aid because it’s quite a massive situation from North Tongu all the way to Central Tongu, South Tongu, Ada, the Asuogyaman constituency all the way to Anlo, Keta.

“So even though we are the worst hit in North Tongu because we are closer and we are really low in terms of our topography, there are still many more communities who are in dire need of help. It does appear to me that NADMO is overwhelmed at the moment. And if we can have national mobilization, a lot more people, a lot more organisation to jump on board and we form a strong coalition it would really help to save lives,” he said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.

The Volta River Authority (VRA) commenced the spillage of excess water in the Akosombo and Kpong hydro dams on September 15.

While the current inflow to the reservoir is pegged at 400,000 cubic feet of water per second, the authority says it is spilling just about 183,000 cubic feet of water, and they cannot ascertain when the spilling exercise will be over.

Meanwhile, thousands of people living along the Lower Volta Basin have been displaced with loss of property running into millions of cedis.

So far, nine districts have been affected by the spillage.

Some of the hardest-hit districts include the South, Central, and North Tongu districts in the Volta Region.

Again, Mr. Ablakwa says he will be launching the MPs mobile relief caravan later this afternoon to mobilise humanitarian support for affected people.

“We have been able to mobilise quite a number of food items; rice, maize, oil, canned fish and other personal effects like sanitary towels, tissues, soap, other detergents and all of that which we will be distributing to all those camps from 1pm today.

“We also observed last night that we will need a lot more tents, we’ll need a lot more mosquito nets because you can expect that because these are open air camps mosquitoes are having a field day and we don’t want malaria to add to the already distressing situation,” he said.

He added that he has been in touch with the Ghana Medical Association and together, they will be carrying out a medical outreach programme in the area to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases as a result of the flooding.

“The water has gotten into all kinds of places; cemeteries, toilet facilities, sewage and all of that so the water is contaminated, and remember that that has been the source of cooking, some even drink against our advice and all of that. So the fear is that those who continue to trust this water we may have a cholera outbreak, a typhoid outbreak so that is another fear we have.

“So we’re collaborating with the medical association to see how we can carry out outreach, do community sensitisation and public education and see how we’ll prevent that. But immediately we need a lot more food, a lot more blankets, a lot more mosquito nets and medicines.

“There are some of these senior citizens who have lost their medications so even though we’ve reached out to some pharmaceutical companies and we have secured a few, it will be great if we receive more medicines because a lot of the vulnerable senior citizens and children have lost access to their medication and if we do get these medicines it will go a long way to keep our people alive,” he said.