Fishermen count losses after tidal waves

BY: Seth J. Bokpe
Some fishermen sorting debris from their nets. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI
Some fishermen sorting debris from their nets. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

A day after a ravaging storm caused havoc in some fishing communities in the Greater Accra and the Volta regions, the fishermen are still counting their losses.

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This came to light when officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) visited the affected communities in the Greater Accra Region.

On the beach at Bortianor, Krokobite and the stretch from Jamestown to the Osu Castle, fisher-folk are yet to come to terms with their loss.

The chief fishermen of Jamestown and Bortianor appealed to the authorities to go to the aid of fishermen to offset the debt incurred after the catastrophe.


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The disaster, which occurred in the early hours of Sunday, has left many fisherfolk dejected. 

The  waves wiped away structures and shut down the economic activities of the people temporarily. 

NADMO Assessment

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Last Monday, officials of NADMO visited the fishing communities to assess the extent of damage.

When the Daily Graphic toured the beaches,  some of the fishermen were pulling out their nets from the wet sticky sand,  while others were busy mending their damaged nets.

Although the extent of damage was yet to be known, the Daily Graphic gathered that at least 23 outboard motors, 23 canoes and six nets had been destroyed at Bortianor, while six outboard motors and a number of canoes and nets were damaged at Jamestown.

The Chief Fisherman of Jamestown, Nii Kai Okaishie, said representatives of the Canoe Owners Association were working together to assess the damage.

He described the development as a catastrophe that could have been avoided if there was a harbour at Jamestown.

He said the absence of a harbour or wharf in the community meant that the fishermen “anchor their canoes on the sea and when a storm breaks, the anchor is removed, the rope breaks and if there are a lot of canoes at the place, they hit one another and break into pieces before being tossed on the shore”.

At Bortianor, the Secretary to the Chief Fishermen, Armah Boye, shared a similar opinion and said apart from the damage in the community, a number of canoes that went fishing at Gomoa Nyanyano were also caught in the storm and their losses were yet to be known.

“Some of our fishermen have had their outboard motors totally destroyed but others could have theirs repaired,” he said.

He said a recurrence of the situation could be prevented if the canal linking the  Weija Lake to the sea at Bortianor was opened.  

In the midst of the chaos at Bortianor, there was a miracle. A canoe named “King of the sea” was the only one to have escaped the damage, although it was anchored on the sea among many others. 

It landed safely on the beach at Bortianor. 

Relocate

The Greater Accra Regional officer in charge of Hydro-Meteorological Services at NADMO, Evans Anakwa, said the organisation was yet to complete the assessment and make recommendations.

He urged residents of Mensa Guinea, who live in shacks built along the coast, to relocate.

The NADMO Greater Accra Regional Officer in charge of Man-made Disasters and Fires, Mohammed Abubakar Jafar, said the extent of havoc warranted support for the fishermen to restart their businesses but that could only be done after the assessment.