Rains cause havoc in Ellembelle

BY: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu
Portions of the  road that caved in
Portions of the road that caved in

The District Directorate of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has warned people, especially those living in riverine communities, low and hilly areas within the Ellembelle District in the Western Region of potential flooding as the Meteorological Services Agency predicts heavy rains in the coming days and weeks.

The NADMO office has, therefore, urged the people to take every necessary precaution, including vacating the area, if necessary, to avoid the impact of the rains, including potential landslides.

The warning followed torrential rains in various parts of the region last Thursday and Friday, as rivers overflowed and caused flooding which washed away the main road linking two communities in the Ellembelle District to the Apimanim-Elubo highway.

Upon touring some flooded areas, the District Director of NADMO, Mr Bright Erzah, said the situation was critical.

He said due to the heavy rains, the rivers had overflowed their banks and, therefore, any attempt to drive through could be disastrous.

The district is known for its many rivers.


Last Saturday, the road that runs through the Aiyinase and Menzezor communities in the district was cut into two as a 67-year-old bridge on the road was washed away, causing the asphalted road to cave in.

The Chief of Aiyinase, Nana Atwi Kpanyili VI, said even before the collapse of the bridge, the town was noted for regular traffic jams, and that routing all traffic through just one alternative road would worsen the situation.

“As it is now, the only way out is to create a temporary passage and speedy action to restore the collapsed route,” he said.

Yesterday, the Regional Highway Engineer, Mr R. Ofori-Komeng, said the Ghana Highways Authority would assess the situation and see the way forward after officials visited the scene to assess the situation.

Protect life, property

The District Chief Executive for Ellembelle, Mr Kwesi Bonzoh, later told the Daily Graphic that the team of NADMO, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the district assembly were on the ground to protect life and property.

He said as a matter of urgency, an assessment of the extent of damage and the integrity of the remaining portions of the road had been done and the other areas that were affected had been barricaded to stop other vehicles from crossing.

“We have realised that aside from the road, rivers in the communities are full to the brim and flowing with high current, and we are appealing to those in the community with their farms on the other sides of the rivers not to attempt using their canoes to cross,” he said.

The assembly, he said, was rallying all the needed support to ensure that no life was lost.

“We have to stay alive; there are more rains coming as the meteorologists have warned,” he said.

The team, the DCE indicated, would also be looking at other roads in the district, especially within flood-prone areas.

“Even though we have our team of NADMO and other emergency services available, I would like to urge members of the communities, road users, to inform the assembly, fire service and the police of any floods for quick action,” he said.

2009 Revisited?

In July 2009, there was a similar situation where hundreds of people were trapped in some communities in Ellembelle due to the rising level of floodwaters as a result of continuous rains.

Roads to Nzema-Akropong were cut, and more than 120 housing units collapsed in 13 other communities, while  property, farm produce, livestock worth thousands of Ghana cedis were lost.