The Assemblies of God Church has called for a declaration of state of emergency in areas that have been affected by the flood occasioned by the spillage of the Akosombo Dam. The Church believes that this will help in dealing with the “depressing ” situation.
Addressing journalists in Accra on Tuesday, October 17, the General Overseer of the Assemblies of God Church, Rev Stephen Wengam said “The Assemblies of God Ghana fully backs calls for the declaration of a state of emergency in the flood-affected areas, this will help the necessary humanitarian measures being undertaken to bring the depressing situation under control.”
He further urged all Ghanaians to support the government in bringing the situation under control.
“The sad reality is that government and government agencies alone cannot shoulder the huge burden of bringing relief and hope to the people due to the untold disaster. This is the time therefore for Ghanaians of all social backgrounds, financial standings, political affiliations, and extractions to rally to the aid of the suffering fathers, mothers, and children.
“Corporate Ghana and other benevolent bodies must also identify themselves with humanitarian efforts while counsellors and psychologist also do their best.” Communities including Mepe and Battor in the North Tongu Constituency have been severely hit by the flood occasioned by the spillage.
Spillage of water from the Akosombo dam is expected to continue until the excess inflows in the lake recede, according to the Volta River Authority (VRA). Following the flood situation, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) warned of the outbreak of cholera in the areas.
To that end, the GMA wants the Ministry of Health to be part of the 13-member inter-ministerial committee that has been formed to assess the flood situation. Speaking on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Monday, October 16Acting General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Richmond Selormey said “in our view as the GMA, in such an emergency, there is a big component that the health sector plays in the relief efforts.
“If you take this flooding for example, people have lost their livelihoods, people have been displaced from their homes, many don’t have access to basic amenities that they had before and therefore there’s a great risk for waterborne diseases, for various injuries because of floating objects, The outbreak of some conditions as cholera, typhoid, and even malaria because there is a pooling of water everywhere.
“There is a big problem of continuity of care because people who used to access health facilities have been cut off. We are aware that there are about three health centres that have been cut off by the floods. This, we think, makes a compelling case that the Ministry, not the person of the Minister per se, has a big role to play in these efforts and it is important that the Health Ministry is included in this inter-ministerial committee.”
The government formed the 13-member inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Chief of Staff to address issues relating to the flood.
The members are Ministers of National Security, Interior, Defence, Energy, Finance, Local Government, Works and Housing, Roads and Highways, Environment, Sanitation, Lands and Natural Resources, and Information.
The committee was formed on the instruction of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a statement issued by Information Minister Kojo Joopong Nkrumah on Friday, October 13 said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the VRA, Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa said that the lake is currently experiencing inflows more than expected hence the spillage is going to continue.
“We are on phase II [of the spillage] right now and it is a cycle. It is normal at this time of the year for us to experience inflows. The difference is that we are getting more than expected and to safeguard this dam means that we have to spill water, that is the standard operation for any hydro dam but the inflows that we are seeing now are in excess.
“Definitely, as the cycle goes through this will recede so we are hoping it will recede in the next time,” he told journalists on Thursday, October 12.
“The spilling may continue even though we are anticipating that the levels may drop down to phase 1, which was started on September 15 but of course, we did not have much excess as we are seeing now, this is an emergency as we have seen from the beginning.
“Whether dredging or no dredging it is an emergency. The volume of water that is coming into the lake right now which we have to throw out, it means that we need to evacuate people from wherever they are to ensure they are safe until the inflows recede,” he added.
The VRA was accused of neglecting its responsibilities in the Lower Volta Basin hence the huge impact of flood caused by spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams on communities.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assured the chiefs and the people of Mepe and the other towns in the North, South, and Central Tongu areas in the Region that the government is going to do whatever it can within its powers to alleviate their plight. He said “When I took the oath of office as president I took the oath of office as president for every single individual in Ghana, of all the people in Ghana, all districts whether they voted for me or not, once I have taken the oath of office I am the president of all the people.
“So Togbe, you and your elders, I want you to understand that when something like this happens and the government acts government is acting for Ghanaians.
“I came here because Ghanaians are having difficulties and suffering and it is my responsibility to try and help. If it is the question of counting who votes for me and who doesn’t vote for me I shouldn’t be here because you don’t vote for me but that is not my concern. In any event one day, you will vote for me and my party.
“I came here this afternoon to express my sympathies and to commiserate with all the people in the Mepe area. I chose Mepe because this is the area that has been most affected.
“We have to also be very grateful for the work of VRA, the preparation they have been making over the years in such a situation, the simulation exercise, and all the things they have been doing to prepare for this including the sensitization. Because of the good that they have done up until now, by the grace of God, not one single individual has lost his life in this crisis,” he said.
He stressed, “Whatever it is within the powers of the government that can be done to alleviate this situation, it is going to be done.”
The flooding has impacted education, health, mobility, shelter, and access to food for the children in the affected communities.
By: Laud Nartey