VRA, NADMO to embark on dam spillage simulation exercise
The Volta River Authority (VRA), in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), will on Thursday embark on a dam spillage simulation exercise.
Dubbed: “Da woho so”, the exercise forms part of the VRA’s emergency preparedness plan (EPP) for the Akosombo and Kpong dams to enhance the readiness of state agencies to respond to emergencies arising from the release of significant amount of water from the dams.
The exercise will take place at the Asuogyaman, North Tongu and Ada East districts, three of the nine districts most likely to suffer severe damages in an unlikely event of a dam spillage and will involve total evacuation, search and rescue, as well as compulsory and voluntary evacuations.
The all-inclusive exercise will comprise state security agencies, the National Ambulance Service, the Ghana National Fire Service, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the North Dakota National Guard and the US Embassy who are providing technical support and training.
At an event ahead of the exercise in Accra yesterday, a Deputy Chief Executive of the VRA, Edward Obeng-Kenzo, said while excessive spillage or dam break was unlikely to happen due to the company’s efficient maintenance system, it was still necessary to plan for any eventualities.
He said a dam break was likely to affect more than 300,000 people, adding that “it is necessary to prepare for the worst effects of climate change”.
Mr Obeng-Kenzo said climate change and its impact were becoming evident in the country and the world with the increased frequency and magnitude of floods which he said the Akosombo and Kpong dams were physically exposed to.
He said the government had developed a national adaptation plan which involved building climate-resilient infrastructure and increasing the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate-related risks.
“There is also the installation of several renewable energy projects, including the 50 MW Solar plant at Bui, the 6.5 MW VRA Solar plant at Lawra and the 28 MW VRA Solar plant at Kaleo.
“Others are the commencement of the installation of about 35 new mini grids and the implementation of the nation's nuclear power programme, the primary source of baseload power by 2035”, the deputy CEO said.
The Director-General of NADMO, Eric Nana Agyeman Prempeh, said disasters could be prevented through early warning systems such as simulation exercises and building of efficient response systems.
He, therefore, commended the VRA for adhering to the constitution by establishing an emergency preparedness and response plans in accordance with Law 216 (Act 927) which obliges all agencies to simulate their plans jointly with NADMO.
“Continued exercises of this nature will improve the preparedness and resilience of our local communities.
“Gaps in disaster preparedness and response will also be identified and the capacity of response agencies, including NADMO, to manage and reduce disaster risk will be increased,” Nana Prempeh added.