President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will visit the districts severely hit by the floods occasioned by the spillage of the Akosombo Dam today.
The President, who returned to the country last night after a four-day official duty in the United States, will be joined by members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the government to help address the havoc caused downstream by the Akosombo Dam spillage and to help bring relief to those affected.
The tour will enable the President and the committee to assess the destruction caused by the flood and its effect on the people in the various communities.
The committee, headed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, is to coordinate government’s response to the spillage.
Apart from assessing the impact of the floods firsthand, the President is also expected to announce measures to bring relief to the flood victims in the North Tongu, Central Tongu, and South Tongu districts in the Volta Region, communities lying along the Lower Volta Basin.
Sources at the Volta River Authority (VRA) said so far, five trucks of assorted items had been sent to the three worst affected districts.
The items include bags of rice, gari, maize, beans, sugar, gallons of oil, detergents, tissue, plastic buckets, bows, mattresses, and blankets.
The source said more trucks were being prepared to undertake deliveries, adding that the next phase of intervention would be known after today’s inter-ministerial committee briefing at Mepe.
The maximum level of water in the Akosombo Dam should be 276 feet, the VRA said.
As of last Thursday, October 12, 2023, the water level in the dam was 276.92 feet or 84.405 meters.
Before the spillage, the level was 272.50 feet or 83.058 meters.
From its website, the VRA said the level of water in the Akosombo Dam as of yesterday (October 15) was 277.24 feet or 84.503 meters, compared with 271.65 feet or 82.798 meters level of the lake at the same time last year (Saturday, October 15, 2022).
The Deputy Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Seji Saji, gave an assurance that the organization would continue to work around the clock in collaboration with VRA to bring immediate relief to the afflicted communities and individuals.
As of last Friday, the water levels in the affected areas and the iconic Sogakope Bridge showed little signs of dropping.
The North Tongu District Director of NADMO, Anthony Todzo, said the floods had now displaced 6,421 people at Mepe.
The deluge had also left 250 people homeless in nearby Battor Vome, he added.
Mr Todzo told the Daily Graphic yesterday that seven basic schools in the district had also been shut as a result of the calamity.
“For now, 85 percent of Mepe is still submerged,” he added.
Mr. Todzo explained that it was difficult to get the exact number of houses claimed by the floods because the affected areas were now inaccessible.
He said some of the displaced had left for Accra, Ho, Sogakope, Akatsi, and nearby communities to live with their relatives in the interim.
Impact of spillage
Tracts of land, including farms and communities downstream of the Akosombo and Kpong dams have been flooded following the spillage of excess water from the two dams used to generate about a third of Ghana’s electricity supply.
The VRA started the spillage at the Akosombo and Kpong dams, both in the Eastern Region, on September 15, 2023, following a rise in the water level of both reservoirs due to appreciable levels of rainfall.
The spillage affected almost all the communities along the lower Volta Basin, resulting in widespread power cuts in the affected communities.
The GRIDCo sub-station in Fievie, Sogakope, in the Volta Region, has been inundated, leading to the shutting down of the station.
In the South Tongu District capital, Sogakope, for instance, the Comboni Centre, which houses the Comboni Hospital, mortuary, technical vocational institute, basic schools, and the Vitro laboratory have all been closed down.
More than 893 basic school children in the district are now loitering after five basic schools were shut in the area over mounting health and safety concerns in the wake of the floods.
The children include 395 boys and 498 girls.
The affected schools are Cuniberto RC Memorial Basic School in Sogakope, Anaosukope PCG Primary School in Sokpoe, Sogakope RC Basic School, Gonu Agbokope DA Primary School, and Gonu RC Basic School.
The District Director of Education, Celestine Sewoenam Adzoa Korsi-Agordo, disclosed this at the meeting with officials of the VRA and NADMO at Sogakope last Friday.
She expressed fears of a possible disruption of the academic calendar, saying the education authorities were considering enrolling the children in different schools if the situation continued.
The District Director of Education said apart from the spillage from the Akosombo Dam, which had caused the schools to be submerged, the washrooms of some of the schools were now filled with fecal matter.
Mrs Korsi-Agordo said the condition was worst in schools whose lavatories had been submerged, raising very serious health concerns.
Hundreds of patients too cannot access the premier Comboni Hospital at Sogakope, and families whose deceased relatives were in the morgue were made to rush there and move the bodies.
The Sogakope Beach Resort has not been accepting guests over the past few days as the facility is suffering the impact of the floods.
The Agordomi Water Works, which treats and supplies water to Sogakope, has equally been affected, and water has not flown through the taps in the last few days.
South Tongu’s Gonu enclaves of Ahiatrogakope, Havorkope, Adadzikope, Agbokope, Sukladzi, Ashiagborkope, and Tsinuto, among others, have experienced some flooding caused by the Tordzie River in the past.
A surveyor and politician at Sogakope, Maxwell Lukutor, urged the government to urgently find a safe haven and move the affected individuals there while it provides relief items, especially food and clothing, to the victims.
He also called for the urgent dredging of the estuary to allow for the free flow of the spilled water into the sea.
“Get a technical committee from VRA to assess the extent of damage for compensation to victims,” Mr Lukutor stated.
Another resident and entrepreneur, Yao Amekor, said: “Now that the Akosombo Dam spillage is pushing and supplying water with speed never witnessed before, the flood level at the greater Gonu area is simply heart-wrenching”.
He said the floods had also aggravated environmental concerns as toilets, mortuaries, refuse dumps, and cemeteries had been affected.
Mr Amekor, therefore, called on the government and its agencies to act urgently to relieve the people and avert a major environmental disaster.
Members of the inter-ministerial committee set up by the government include ministers from National Security, the Interior, Defence, Energy, Finance, Local Government, Works and Housing.
The others are Roads and Highways, Environment, Sanitation, Lands and Natural Resources, and Information.