In response to the recent flooding of communities downstream of the Akosombo and Kpong dams, government has taken swift action to aid those affected by the inundation.
A high-level government delegation, led by Minister of State at the Local Government Ministry, Osei Bonsu Amoah, and comprised of officials from various ministries and agencies, visited Mepe and other flood-affected areas on Monday, October 16, 2023 to assess the situation and provide relief to victims.
The flood, caused by the controlled spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams, has led to significant challenges in the affected areas, including power cuts, infrastructure damage, and risks to residents’ lives.
Speaking to journalists after a four-hour tour of the flood areas, Deputy Minister for Information, Fatimatu Abubakar said government is deeply concerned about the safety of residents of the affected areas and as a matter of urgency has taken appropriate steps to safeguard their lives.
“We are deeply concerned about the plight of our fellow citizens who have been adversely affected by the flooding due to the dam spillage. Our primary goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of these communities, and accordingly we have taken appropriate steps with regard to that,” she said.
The floods have affected access to communities as roads have been cut off, leaving commuters stranded, with others resorting to the use of boats and canoes which further endanger their lives.
The most affected communities are in the Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region where the Akosombo Dam is located, and in the North, Central and South Tongu districts in the Volta Region.
The spillage was necessitated by high inflows into the Akosombo reservoir, resulting in the water level exceeding its upper level. It was to prevent the water from overtopping and compromising the integrity of the dam.
Explaining the rationale behind the spillage, a Deputy Chief Executive of VRA for Services, Kenneth Arthur, said this is not the first time Volta River Authority (VRA) is spilling water from the Akosombo Dam. The last was in 2010, having spilled water from the dam in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1991.
He said the spillage began at a low rate for about one and a half weeks with no impact on downstream communities. He said before the spill rate was increased, the authority in collaboration with National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) evacuated some of the residents of the affected communities to higher grounds, and designated safe havens for the communities.
This notwithstanding, he said the authority decided to provide the essential relief items in keeping with the VRA’s commitment to alleviate the plight of the communities.
Mr. Arthur said the items were to mitigate the difficulties and challenges being faced by the communities that had been adversely impacted as a result of the intensified spill rate.
The Deputy Director of NADMO, Seji Saji provided update on rescue efforts thus far. He said NADMO has already deployed personnel to the affected areas to provide food, water, and shelter to those who need it adding that it is working with the VRA to ensure that the spillage is managed safely and that the impact on communities is minimized.
Also present during the tour were the Deputy Minister for Energy, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Deputy Minister for Health, Tina Mensah, Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa, District Chief Executive Officer, Osborn Divine Fenu and other high profile dignitaries and security personnel.