Sanitation and Water Resources Minister blames flood victims for refusing to relocate
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Prempeh, has said the government cannot be blamed entirely for the misfortunes of the flood victims following the spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams.
That, she said, was because despite the best efforts of key agencies to evacuate, people ahead of the spillage, they refused to pay heed to authorities.
Ms Prempeh explained that 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 flooded in such a situation.
“They did simulation exercises with them even at Mepe, yet they refused to leave. They didn't want to be evacuated. They stayed there till the end when we started spilling,” the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources stressed.
“Now people are blaming government, VRA and NADMO but these three institutions really did a lot of education right from January. Even in September they were still talking to the people to move because there was a likelihood they were going to spill in the next week or two,” she added.
Freda Prempeh, who is also the Tano North Member of Parliament (MP), went on to lament that, due to the stubbornness of the victims of the man-made disaster, the government would now have to spend its meagre resources on relief items.
“Unfortunately, look at what is happening, and government has to spend billions of money on relief items, on education. The whole area the water is contaminated and what Ghana water and Water Resources Commission would have to spend money, millions of money to treat the water before we can pass it through our pipes,” she added.
Ms Prempeh also blamed the floods on climate change saying that due to the change in rainfall patterns, it had become increasingly difficult for the relevant authorities to determine when exactly it would rain so even if the Volta River Authority did a gradual spillage, it wouldn’t have made much difference.
From September 15, this year, the Volta River Authority (VRA) started a controlled spillage at the Akosombo and Kpong dams, both in the Eastern Region, following excess water being recorded in both reservoirs due to appreciable levels of rainfall.
This led to tracts of land and communities downstream to be severely flooded.
It was the second-stage spillage of the two dams used to generate about a third of the country’s electricity supply.