1 November 2010 Source: Daily Graphic
Gonja: Floods hit over 700,000 victims
The Interior Minister, Mr Martin Amidu, has described the flood situation in the country as a national disaster which calls for international assistance.
After leading an official delegation to ascertain the degree of the disaster in the Gonja area, Mr Amidu described what he saw as a major crisis that had overwhelmed the country’s ability to manage.
In the circumstance, he said, he would make the appropriate recommendations to the President to enable him to take an urgent decision on the matter.
Hundreds of houses and farms have been destroyed by the floods and relief agencies have estimated the number of displaced people at more than 700,000 with many of the places still being inaccessible.
“The level of flooding in various parts of the country has stretched the country beyond its response mechanism and contingency plans,” he stated, adding that there was an urgent need for Ghana’s development partners to assist the country to salvage the situation.
Mr Amidu said the situation could get worse if the Akosombo dam reached its maximum level of 278ft.
He said the spillage of water from the dam, which officials have planned to do today, would increase the floods in various communities from the south to the north.
Members of the official delegation included Mr Kofi Portuphy, the Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NAOMO), Mr. Ismail Omer, the Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) and Mr San Nasamu Asabigi, the Deputy Northern Regional Minister.
The team toured parts of the Buipe township that had been inundated and also visited areas where shelter had been provided for displaced persons.
The Interior Minister noted that the entire flood episode began in the southern sector following heavy rains and this prompted the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee, which made proposals to the government with regard to the conduct of relief operation.
“The northern sector later began to have its share of the floods following the spillage of the dams in Burkina Faso, which has led to the over-flow of the Volta rivers and their tributaries, thereby inundating communities located along those rivers,” he narrated.
The floods were, however, exacerbated by unusually heavy rains, which are still falling.
During the visit to the displaced camps, the Interior Minister pledged the government’s commitment towards providing relief items and finding lasting solutions to the perennial floods.
He, however, reminded the people that they could also contribute towards ameliorating their plight by resettling on higher and safer grounds, instead of continuing to live close to the river banks.
Mr Portuphy described the flood situation as unbearable.
“There are floods in many places and NADMO is unable to provide adequate support to people in all these communities,” he said, and explained that transporting relief items to displaced persons had been hindered by unavailability of vehicles.
Mr Portuphy said the organisation had succeeded in relocating over 4,000 flood victims in the Kintampo South and North districts.
In the Volta Region, lakeside markets in four districts have been destroyed by flood water from the Volta Lake with thousands of people having been displaced, Daily Graphic’s Tim Dzamboe reports from Tapa-Abotoase.
The markets are in Tapa-Abotoase in the Biakoye District, Kpando-Torkor in the Kpando District, Dzemeni in the South-Dayi District and Dambai in the Krachi- West District.
The floods have also affected at least 10 communities along the bank of the Volta, affecting about 2,000 people and destroying more than 350 houses and 313 acres of farms.
The River Dayi has also overflowed its banks causing serious floods along Jordan-Nu and surrounding areas and submerging many farms.
With the threat of more floods, the Kpando District Chief Executive, Mr Francis Ganyaglo, has appealed to land owners in safer places to release their land for temporary habitation by the affected people.
He, however, expressed concern that the most affected victims were still recalcitrant to move out of areas demarcated as flood-prone.