The Centre for Climate Change and Food Security (CCCFS) has called on government to declare state of emergency in areas heavily impacted by the man-made flood in the Volta region.
According to the group, the declaration will help place premium on the communities affected by the spillage from the Akosombo dam.
It revealed that government must equally establish a robust early warning system to properly estimate and prevent potential damages as a result of dam spillages both in southern and northern Ghana.
“As a matter of urgency, the Government needs to declare a state of emergency, given the sheer scale of the damage we are witnessing. This is necessary to assist us mobilize enough resources to adequately assist our compatriots who are reeling over this devastation.”Centre for Climate Change and Food Security
Furthermore, CCCFS entreated government to explore ways to permanently relocate all persons living along waterways where spilled water flows through. It explained that this must be prioritized as a matter of urgency.
“It is bemusing that for over five decades, we have become comfortable with this spectre, instead of stemming it once and for all. Government should look at the possibility of expanding the dam or creating adjoining reservoirs to harvest excess water which could be used for other purposes, including agriculture.
“It thus appears that there’s no plan to enhance the capacity of the dam since its creation, and this raises questions about Ghana’s commitment to progress in our national life.”Centre for Climate Change and Food Security
Moreover, the group expressed the need for government to initiate a criminal investigation targeting potential criminal negligence against persons with responsibilities to prevent or manage such disasters.
It noted that the Volta River Authority should have put in place adequate measures to effectively preempt the “climate-change driven” upsurge in water in the dam.
“It is our view that the VRA, over the years, has become more reactionary rather than proactive. Without someone being held criminally liable for these destructions, the cycle will continue, unabated.”Centre for Climate Change and Food Security
EPA cautions illegal settlers
Meanwhile, executive director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, has advised illegal settlers around the Weija Dam to take a cue from the devastation caused by the Akosombo dam spillage.
He noted that although the predicament of the affected is very pathetic, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from the unfortunate incident.
Dr Kokofu explained that the spillage of the dams across the country has become a necessary evil since the country cannot stand the impact in the event that these dams collapse.
“This goes beyond environmental concerns. It is a national issue. Life and properties are at risk. It is a very sad situation, but we must take cues from these things and adhere to advise and then comply with regulations. Just recently, we had the opportunity to undertake a field trip to Weija Dam where the reservoir for the Ghana Water Company is located.
“People have encroached so much and so close to the facility. The moment the reservoir overruns, it will cause a huge havoc. People will lose their lives; they will lose their properties and all that. But what is happening currently at Akosombo is a great lesson for all of us to look at.”Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu
Buttressing his point, Dr Kokofu urged persons along the Weija dam to “voluntarily vacate those places”. He emphasized that for state institutions like the EPA or any other to come in with “full-force demolition does not augur well”.
“Nobody wants to see anybody suffering. But if we are not careful, even if we are unable to do it, nature may do it…”Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu