Burkina Faso spills Bagre Dam Thursday, NADMO moves to mitigate effect on residents along Black, White Volta

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
 Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, the Director-General of NADMO. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA
Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, the Director-General of NADMO. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA

Thousands of people living along the banks of the Black and White Volta will be affected when the Bagre Dam, currently nearing its maximum level of 235 metres, is spilled today.

The dam was initially billed to be spilled in the first week of September, but as of Tuesday, August 21, the water level in the dam had risen to 233.76 metres, representing about 80 per cent of its watermark and thus making it necessary for action to be taken before any unfortunate eventuality.

The steep rise in the level of the water in the dam as compared to the same time last year has necessitated an immediate spillage ahead of schedule to save the dam from collapse.

Addressing the media in Accra yesterday, the Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, said water spillage from the dam would wreak havoc across 24 districts in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Eastern regions.

Details of affected areas

Mr Agyemang-Prempeh said the Northern Region would be the hardest hit by the anticipated torrent as it would affect 11 districts, comprising Karaga, East Gonja, Nanumba South, Tolon Kumbungu, Bole, West Gonja, Savelugu, Nanton, East Mamprusi, Yendi and West Mamprusi.

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He said residents of Bawku West, Binduri and Talensi in the Upper East Region and their counterparts in Nandom, Lawra, Nadowli and Wa West Districts in the Upper West Region would suffer a similar fate.

According to him, the spillage would also cause severe flooding that would extend to the Nkwanta-North, Krachi East, Krachi West and Krachi Nchumuru districts in the Volta Region, as well as the Afram Plains North and South districts in the Eastern Region.

Operation thunderbolt

Mr Agyemang-Prempeh said a 25-member team of experts and technical persons, led by the Deputy Director-General of NADMO in charge of operations, Mr Abu Ramadan, had been deployed to Walewale and Zebilla in the Northern and Upper East regions respectively to provide rescue services and protect lives.

The team, he added, would join forces with officials from NADMO in the affected regions to ensure that rescue missions were successfully carried out.

He also announced the launch of ‘Operation Thunderbolt’, a high-powered rescue mission aimed at helping to safeguard lives and properties in the affected areas.

Residents urged

Meanwhile, Mr Agyemang-Prempeh has urged residents in the affected areas to move to higher grounds with their valuables for their own safety.

He noted, however, that it was important for the Ministry of Works and Housing and other state agencies to work with Burkina Faso in finding a lasting solution to the perennial spillage from that dam.