Torrential rains hit Upper West: Massive investment needed — Regional Minister

BY: Emmanuel Modey
Dr Hafiz Bin Salih (arrowed), the Upper West Regional Minister, with members of the REGSEC assessing the impact of the flood at one of the sites 
Dr Hafiz Bin Salih (arrowed), the Upper West Regional Minister, with members of the REGSEC assessing the impact of the flood at one of the sites 

The northern part of the Western Corridor which was cut off from Wa by flood following a downpour during the early hours of last Friday needs heavy investment to bring it back to normal.

The Upper West West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, stated this when he visited the scene last Saturday to inspect the areas and offer immediate support.

Dr Bin Salih said he was depressed by the sight of damaged houses, wrecked roads and the pools of flood water that people had been confined in as he led a team of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to inspect the areas.

The team also had personnel from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), municipal/district chief executives, and the Department of Feeder Roads.

The regional minister described the situation as terrible and devastating.

"This will take the region back to where it was a few years ago in terms of the use of roads in the region," he said.

“The economic implications of the road situation was now dire considering the important role roads played in the movement of goods and services across the country,” he added.

He gave an assurance, however, that the government would do everything possible to revert the situation to the normal state. 

The NADMO Regional Director, Mr Mustapha Ahmed, said they were at their wits end as to the immediate solution to the disaster since they were unable to assess the situation due to the bad roads.

Stranded passengers/heavy trucks

Last Friday’s nine-hour downpour cut off six districts in the enclave, and in its wake left heavy trucks carrying goods and people to Burkina Faso and beyond stranded.

The 47-kilometre stretch of the international road between Nadowli-Kaleo District and the border post at Hamile in the Nandom Municipality has been washed off, while dams and culverts have been destroyed, thus blocking traffic between Wa and the border with Burkina Faso.

That stretch encompasses the six worst affected districts in the region, namely Nandom, Lawra, Daffiama/Bussie/Issa, Nadowli-Kaleo, Sissala East and Jirapa.

Disruptions

Among the disruptions it caused, last Friday’s downpour tampered with transport services between Wa and Nadowli due to the collapse of the Kululu Bridge at Goriyiri, and between Nadowli and Babile due to the collapse of the bridge at Yori Bakpeng.

With the disruption extending across the six districts and more than 40 communities, it also affected the cost of transportation.

For instance, the fare for travelling between Wa and Jirapa, ordinarily done through Nadowli, has been increased from GH¢20 to GH¢50 as drivers are now compelled to make a detour through the longer route of Sabuli and Bussie in the Dafiamma-Bussie-Issa (DBI) District to reach their destination.

A native of the region, Mr Robert Kantayir, described the new transport fares as exhorbitant in a post on his Facebook wall, while some others said they did not have to make the journey at all because they could not afford the cost.

The DBI NADMO office issued a statement at the weekend warning residents and commuters to exercise extreme caution because of the “disconnections on our roads”.

“Dams have damaged Dakyea, Owlo and Wogu. As for collapsed houses and flooded farms, uncountable,” the statement, distributed via social media, said.

Tip of iceburg

The Road Area Manager of the GHA, Ms Vivian Kangkpeyeng, said the damage at Goriyiri was just a tip of the iceberg.

She said although there were alternative routes which could be used by the vehicles since no district was spared, it was not advisable because of the very poor conditions of road network in the region.

Bizarrely, the stretch of the highway seriously affected by the flood was the only fully tarred road from Wa to Hamile.