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Flooding in Volta Region: Residents Struggle Amidst Rising Waters

At least 26,000 people have been displaced in the affected areas, including communities in the North, South, and Central Tongu Districts.

Residents of the lower Volta Lake communities are stranded by floods caused by the ongoing spillage of excess water from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams. An exercise that intends to secure Ghana’s source of hydroelectric power has created immense challenges for the affected inhabitants.

The VRA has said that the spillage is necessary to protect the dam and prevent a possible disaster if the water level exceeds its operational limit. The dam, which supplies about 70% of Ghana’s electricity, has seen a significant increase in water inflow from the upstream due to heavy rains in the catchment area.

Impact and Displacement

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At least 26,000 people have been displaced in the affected areas, including communities in the North, South, and Central Tongu Districts.

Houses belonging to the poor have been engulfed by the spilled water from the Dam, leaving families devastated.

53-year-old Charles Leibné, who lost his wheelchair in the Mepe Floods, now sleeps on a bare floor, fearing the impact on his health. With their belongings submerged, Charles and his 10-year-old daughter Mercy, who relies on a walker to move, find themselves dependent on others and are urgently pleading for assistance.

“The lack of accommodations forces us to sleep outdoors, leaving us vulnerable to mosquito bites. Without mosquito nets, our nights are plagued by discomfort,” he complained to Joynews.

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“The inability to walk puts us at risk during rain, as we lack assistance. Furthermore, when food distribution occurs, our isolation leaves us without support to access these vital resources,” “We are suffering,” Charles lamented.

Awusife Kagbitor, a resident of Mepe, the hardest-hit community in the Volta region, shared her ordeal with BBC News. She lamented that the floodwaters had engulfed her entire farm and home, leaving her with only the clothes she managed to salvage.

She expressed her despair, saying, “It took me about 14 years to build this house – there’s nowhere to go, there’s no other land to build on,”

Calls for Action

There is a growing chorus of voices urging the Ghanaian government to declare a State of Emergency, as the ramifications of the dam spill appear to surpass the capacity of the national economy to manage. Consequently, seeking international support is increasingly considered the most viable course of action.

Former President Mahama also took to X to amplify the call.

He emphasizes the extent and scale of the flooding of communities along the Volta River is bigger than the ‘crippled’ economy can bear. Hence, he advocates for the declaration of a state of emergency.

“I recommend to Government to declare a State of Emergency in the affected areas and request relief assistance from our bilateral and multilateral partners immediately,” John Mahama wrote.

Various individuals and organizations advocating for this measure include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the Assemblies of God Church, and former Health Minister Alex Sgbefia. However, the government, as of the time of this report, has not yet responded to these appeals.

Authorities are closely monitoring as the Ghana Meteorological Agency forecasts additional rainfall in the affected area over the coming days.

Donations and Measures

The government, in conjunction with NADMO and an Inter-Ministerial Committee, have evacuated the affected people to 20 holding centers and provided them with emergency relief items.

Other benevolent individuals and organizations have stepped in, complementing the government’s efforts to alleviate the hardships faced by the flood victims.

The Vice President, Dr. Bawumia, has also donated GH¢160,000 to those affected and assured them that the government works to provide a sustainable solution to the issue.

“I want to assure that the government will do everything possible to assist the affected people to provide relief and also restore the livelihood of those affected. Dr. Bawumia said.

“We are not only looking at temporary relief, we are also looking at a more sustained support through the Inter-Ministerial Committee, so that those affected can restore their livelihoods.”

In addition to the Vice President’s contribution, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) have also orchestrated the distribution of essential relief supplies to the individuals affected by the situation. These provisions include canned food, rice, sugar, toiletries, boats, and hot meals, worth millions of Ghana Cedis.

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