Pressure Mounts For State Of Emergency
…To Be Declared Over Dam Spillage
Simmering pressure is mounting on President Nana Akufo-Addo, who recently visited some victims and affected communities of flood disaster this Monday, to declare a state of emergency in the ongoing Akosombo Dam spillage, at a time the Volta River Authority (VRA) has hinted it will continue to spill excess water to save the dam from collapse.
The call, which was initially proposed by the Members of Parliament (MPs) in the flood-affected areas led by the North Tongu constituency legislator, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is now being supported by various bodies and personalities.
The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the Assemblies of God Church, former President John Mahama and a host of others have made the same call, highlighting the importance of the declaration.
This is coming at a time the Deputy Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), SejiSaji Amedonu, has said some 20, 000 are still displaced, despite efforts by the organization and stakeholders to find safe havens for residents.
Making a case for his people, Mr. Ablakwa argued it was about time government went ahead to make the declaration, considering the overwhelming nature of the spillage, to bring serious attention to the situation.
The frustrated parliamentarian, whose area is said to be one of the most affected communities, claimed in a recent interview that “it will then make resources available. Everybody is going to sit up because, so far, it’s been a very lethargic approach by leadership, very lackadaisical. You don’t get the sense that there is real mobilization. So that declaration is going to jolt people out of slumber and everybody is going to get to work.”
Mr. Ablakwa explained that “we need an all hands-on deck approach. And so far, NADMO appears to be struggling… This requires urgency and we are getting frustrated.”
He said other countries and international partners are standing by waiting to send in the needed assistance after the declaration is made.
The GNAT, on its part, said the situation has reached the level where the President needs to declare the state of emergency as soon as practicable.
It said, when that is done, it will guarantee the supply of essential goods and services to the affected victims.
“The Ghana National Association of Teachers, GNAT, equally backs the call for a state of emergency to be declared in the affected areas, since the circumstances under which a state of emergency could be declared, whether natural or man-made disasters, is being experienced currently which is not only threatening the very existence of the people but also depriving the communities of the essentials of life.
The declaration of the emergency would secure public safety, maintenance of public order, and guarantee the supply of essential goods and services required by the communities,” GNAT insisted, in a press statement it issued.
The havoc caused by the spillage has made it impossible for pupils to access education, as schools and churches have been taken over by these residents.
The GNAT asked its members in the affected communities to remain strong in the circumstances and not do anything that would jeopardize their safety.
Assemblies of God Church
In the thick of things, the religious bodies have also not been left out as the Assemblies of God Church, has waded into the fray, emphasizing the need for the government to make the declaration in the flood-affected regions- namely, Volta, Eastern and Greater Accra regions.
According to the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God, Ghana, Rev. Stephen Wengam, the urgency and the church’s commitment to providing relief and support to the affected communities will go a long way to bring some relief to the people.
Indicating, the church supports calls for government to declare a state of emergency, he reiterated that “Assemblies of God Ghana fully backs calls for the declaration of a state of emergency in the flood-affected areas.”
“We are witnessing a flood and disaster on an epic scale and with devastating consequences in the parts of the Volta, Eastern and Greater Accra regions as a result of the spillage of huge volumes of water from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams,” Rev. Wengam explained.
He also revealed that the Assemblies of God, Ghana, is stepping forward to aid those in distress by donating GHC20, 000, along with essential relief items.
The church’s gesture underscores its dedication to helping victims during this challenging period.
Rev. Wengam also extended a heartfelt plea to all well-meaning Ghanaians and religious groups to join hands and assist the flood victims.
In addition to material support, the General Superintendent pledged that the church would keep the flood victims in their thoughts and prayers.
Also backing the call is former President John Mahama who last week visited some of the affected communities in the Volta Region.
In a Facebook post yesterday Wednesday, October 18, Mr. Mahama said Ghana’s struggling economy cannot bear the magnitude of the devastation being experienced as a result of the spillage.
Mr. Mahama challenged his successor to seek assistance from the country’s bilateral and multilateral partners immediately.
“It is clear that the scope and scale of the flooding of communities along the Volta River is bigger than our crippled economy can bear.
“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,” he stated.
Meanwhile, some media houses, especially in the national capital, have started organizing relief items from the general public to support government effort. Some of the stations, including CitiFM/TV, TV3, and Accra FM, announced measures for this purpose.
They are collecting items, including mattresses, bottle and sachet water, groceries, clothes, etc. Other reports also suggest medical care is also challenged at a time previous reports have indicated that morgues, cemeteries, toilet facilities have all been flooded, posing serious public health emergencies.