Mepe Development Association condemns Sanitation Minister's comment
The Mepe Development Association (MDA) has reacted to comments by the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Prempeh, in which the minister blamed residents and other downstream communities along the Volta River for not heeding to warnings to evacuate before the Akosombo and Kpong dams were spilled.
On Monday, October 23, 2023, Freda Prempeh said the the Volta River Authority (VRA), the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Water Resources Commission, since the beginning of 2023, had been educating people in the communities likely to be affected in such a situation, including Mepe.
However, she said that despite the best efforts of these key agencies to evacuate people ahead of the spillage, they refused to pay heed to authorities.
A statement signed by the Chairman of the MDA, Kojo Mawulenu Fabian, in reaction to the minister's comment accused Freda Premah of peddling false information.
Attached below is a copy of the press statement from the Mepe Development Association
MEPE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO SANITATION MINISTER'S COMMENTS ON FLOOD VICTIMS
The Mepe Development Association (MDA) strongly condemns the comments made by the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Prempeh, in which she blames the indigenes of Mepe and other downstream communities along the Volta River for not heeding warnings to evacuate before the Akosombo Dam spillage.
For the record, Mepe is the epicenter of the VRA-induced flood disaster where thousands of people are still reeling from the devastating losses and pain we have endured.
We would like to ask the Minister to provide answers to following questions:
1. Can the Minister tell the nation which part(s) of the Mepe traditional area the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) conducted the so-called simulation exercise before the spillage?
2. How many people from Mepe were included in the said simulation exercise?
3. How many times was the simulation exercise conducted, and how extensive was the community engagement?
We wish to make it clear that the Mepe Traditional Council, Mepe Development Association, opinion leaders, and all key stakeholders were not engaged in any simulation exercise or post-simulation exercise as claimed by the Minister. How such an important exercise could escape the eyes and ears of these key stakeholders in the community leaves one to wonder whether the monies expended on the simulation should not be refunded to the state coffers.
The Minister also mentioned that the people of Mepe refused to evacuate before the spillage. Evacuate to where? There were no official temporary shelter facilities provided by the state for the people in the event of an evacuation.
It was the leadership of the MDA, in consultation with the Chiefs, that took the initiative to create seven makeshift safe havens for the affected flood victims in the following locations: Mepe R.C. Primary, R.C JHS, Mepe Presby Primary, Presby JHS, D.A JHS, Holy Christ, and St. Kizito Secondary Technical School.
Out of these seven safe havens, only St. Kizito, which currently houses 1,320 displaced persons, received six mobile toilets just this past Friday, provided by the VRA after persistent appeals.
Is the Minister aware that over 1,000 displaced Ghanaian citizens are now relying on just six mobile toilets at St. Kizito?
Is she informed that the remaining six safe havens in Mepe do not have any mobile toilets? And does she know that the displaced victims, including children and women, are exposed to mosquitoes and other dangerous reptiles every night?
We also question how many litter bins, mosquito nets, and access to clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has provided the people of Mepe since the man-made flood disaster.
The MDA calls on the Minister to inform the nation about her ministry's response to the looming health crisis in the affected communities, the contamination of water sources, and the unsanitary conditions created by the flood. It is time for real action, Madam Minister. Show up.
As a community, we have had enough of misinformation and disinformation from official sources since the flood disaster occurred. We are still grieving and emotionally distraught. All we request is respect for our sensitivity and dignity during these challenging times in our history.
We urge all state appointees and communicators to refrain from making ill-informed and uneducated comments that blame the flood victims for this state-created disaster. The state must acknowledge its role and take responsibility for the mess it has created, showing remorse and empathy toward the affected communities.
Let us refrain from exacerbating the pain of our people, the poor and the vulnerable, Minister Freda Prempeh.
The MDA calls on the minister to, unreservedly and immediately, apologise to the Chiefs and people of Mepe for her misspoke and unfortunate comments.
Kojo Mawulenu Fabian