Akosombo Dan spillage: Govt’ll restore livelihoods
The government has pledged its commitment to distribute relief items to persons and communities that were affected by the spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams to bring comfort to all.
It said through its Inter-ministerial Committee set up by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) would work with the various government agencies to restore the livelihoods of the affected persons.
“After water levels have come down, collectively all government agencies assigned to the inter-ministerial committee will do their respective duties so that we restore the schools, electricity, water and provide the necessary support to farmers and fish farmers, and other people who have lost their livelihoods because of the spillage exercise,” it said.
Giving an update in Accra yesterday on the government’s relief efforts after the recent spillage, the Deputy Minister of Information, Fatimatu Abubakar, said the government, through NADMO, had taken full responsibility for rehabilitating persons and communities affected by the spillage.
“So whatever distribution of resources that NADMO will require in terms of food items, water and medicine, all state agencies are collaborating and playing their part to make sure that they are provided.
“Other private individuals and institutions that so wish to support the affected communities are encouraged to do so. If they also wish to distribute some relief items to NADMO to add to their disbursement, that is also encouraged,” she said.
The deputy minister said government’s relief efforts during the spillage included safety and relief.
With safety, she said the focus was on evacuating the affected persons from the communities to safe havens by NADMO, 48 Engineers Regiment, Riverine Command of the Ghana Navy and the Naval Training Command.
In terms of relief, she said steps were being taken to avoid overcrowding of people who were in temporary shelters at the various school compounds to avert any medical emergencies.
Those persons, she said, were being provided with food and non-food items, medicines and 40 mobile biodigester toilet facilities.
On the question of the amount the government and the VRA intended to spend in trying to rehabilitate the affected communities, Ms Abubakar said all the ministries, together with their district offices in the affected communities, were undertaking that assessment.
She said the water levels had not reduced significantly and all the assessment and required support should be based on the data and science on the ground.
“Because today, until the water levels go down and you are able to assess the level of damage to property and quantify what people may just have lost, you may just speculate and then put out some figures and later on when you come back to inform the people that we may require double or triple of what we have mentioned we would need to rehabilitate the communities, they would express doubt over the resources that were used.
“So we are keeping faith with the data that will be provided after the water levels are completely down and the proper assessments are made,” she said.
Awaiting test information
She indicated that health experts from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) were currently conducting tests to determine the level of water and soil contamination in some of the affected communities.
The outcome of such tests would determine the level of contamination of water and how habitable the affected communities were currently.
“It is this information that they will give that will inform some decisions by the inter-ministerial committee on what to do, but as it stands now we have not received such information or advice from the health experts on the ground that we should relocate the people.
“We have doctors and nurses on the ground such as Mepe who know what is happening on the ground and advising what necessary steps can be taken. If the intention is about relocation, there is so much involved in moving people from their social and cultural habitats, away from their property and farms,” she said.
Ms Abubakar noted that usually when incidents such as spillage occurred and people were internally displaced, a large number of people moved to stay with relatives and friends on their own and often not through arrangements that had been put in place by the government.
She said when members of the inter-ministerial committee visited Mepe, the people at the safe haven were about 6,000, but the number moved up to about 8,000 the following day.
She revealed that people staying in some second cycle schools had mattresses, mosquito nets and a full complement of things that could assist them in the meantime.
“For now, the information that we have received is that so far those who have moved to the safe havens have been given the resources to ensure they are able to stay there temporarily until such a time that they want to go back to the communities,” she said.
National Emergency Contact Centre
The briefing was also used to launch the National Emergency Contact Centre set up by the National Information Centre under the Ministry of Information to enable persons in the affected communities to reach out on 311 and share their feedback to assist the government to take the necessary action with dispatch.
The Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Engineering and Operations at the Volta River Authority (VRA), Edward Ekow Obeng-Kenzo, highlighted the various humanitarian items the authority had so far provided for the affected communities.
“We will be with you in these trying times to support residents affected. We as VRA and the agencies that we are working with will like to assure all that, as projected, we will be seeing an end to this situation that we have,” he said.