Dam Spillage: Asantehene Calls For Robust Disaster Preparedness

His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has reacted to the ravages of the recent spillage of the Akosombo Dam in the Volta Region, calling for the institution of effective disaster preparedness and response mechanisms.

According to him, the government must take proactive measures including robust evacuation plans and support structures to forestall future recurrence.

“The Akosombo Dam spillage underscores the importance of effective disaster preparedness and response mechanisms,” he said during the 57th Congregation of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

He noted that the government must do this through collaboration with the needed stakeholders.

“The government must work out in collaboration with local authorities and international partners must work tirelessly to ensure that our communities are resilient in the face of some of these natural calamities going forward. This includes early warning systems, robust evacuation plans and support structures for those affected… The Akosombo Dam spillage underscores the importance of effective disaster preparedness and response mechanisms.”

The Monarch of the Asante Kingdom further called on the public to rise to the aid of the victims of the spillage.

“In the spirit of Unity and resilience, let us come together to support the communities affected by the Akosombo Dam spillage. Let us provide aid not just in the form of immediate relief but also in the form of sustainable development initiatives that empower these communities to rebuild and thrive in the face of adversity.”

The spillage began on September 15 and a few days later, rendered parts of the Volta Region, Greater Accra Region and Eastern Region inundated.

It was reported that South Tongu, Central Tongu, North Tongu, Shai Osudoku, Anlo, Ada East and Asuogyaman districts were the hardest hit.

The situation displaced over 26,000 residents,  caused destruction of properties, loss of livelihoods and disruption of healthcare, education and other critical services in these areas.

The spillage exercise was described as a man-made disaster by a section of the public who held the VRA could have mitigated the effect with proactive measures and proper simulation exercise.

The VRA defended itself and blamed residents for ignoring their frequent sensitization. It said residents were reluctant to relocate, a claim victims have denied.

On Friday, October 13, the government announced a 13-member committee to coordinate the government’s response to the situation.

Headed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare, it includes the Minister for National Security, Kan Dapaah, the Minister for Interior, Ambrose Dery, the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister for Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, the Minister for Local Government, Dan Botwe and the Minister for Works and Housing, Francis Asenso Boakye.

The rest are the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwaku Amoako Atta, the Minister for Environment, Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister for Sanitation, Freda Prempeh, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor and the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.

The destruction by the flood run into billions of cedis and calls have intensified for the government to compensate the victims.

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu and the Alliance of Feminists CSOs (AFCSOs) have been calling for decent compensation for the victims.

As Sosu in tweet said, “VRA owed a duty of care to this community. They negligently breached this duty and must pay adequate compensation to alleviate the pain and suffering of these people. This is an unpardonable failure on the part of Engineers of VRA. Serious violations of rights to life and property.”

Ablakwa indicated his outfit was awaiting “non-negotiable…full compensation of all victims.”

The group of CSOs in a statement said, “We also call on the government to prepare adequate compensation for the victims to help minimize the impact of the flood especially the women and children as they would eventually be most affected in these areas.”

It is not known if the government will compensate the victims for their losses. However, the government has announced an amount of $40m will be disbursed to farmers affected by the spillage.

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