Health Crisis Looms At Akatsi-Havѐ
…Over 3,000 Residents Sharing Water With Animals For Drinking
The health of over 3,000 residents of some communities, such as Have-Fiakpokorpe, Wordikorpe, Ewekorpe and surrounding villages in the Akatsi South Municipality, in the Volta Region, is at risk, as they are compelled to share their only source of water with animals, including dangerous reptiles.
Residents say, even though the water has been heavily contaminated with faecal matter from the animals, they have no alternative than depend on the stagnant water for use to survive – both for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.
The unfortunate situation, The Anchor gathered, has been lingering on for years due to lack of access to potable water in the community after the only borehole in the area had broken down.
This has led the residents currently competing with the animals, mainly cattle, for the water especially during this period of dry season.
According to the residents, everyone, including children, newborns and pregnant women, as well as the aged, all depend on this polluted water for use.
The broken-down borehole, residents recalled, was constructed many years ago by then Member of Parliament (MP) for Ave-Avenor constituency, Edward Doe Adjaho, through a non-governmental organization (NGO).
The area, which is predominantly a farming community, is about six to 10 kilometers from Akatsi, which is the district capital.
According to the residents, even though their leaders are aware of their predicaments there was little effort to resolve the problem.
The newly elected assemblyman for Have, Wuxor and Sremanu Electoral Area, Japhet Festus Gbede, whose jurisdiction the affected communities fall under, described the situation as dire while appealing for help.
He was particularly concerned that, if nothing is done in the interim to address the problem, it could lead to an outbreak of water borne diseases that put thousands of households in the communities in danger.
It is unclear, how much it will cost to repair the borehole. But Mr. Japhet Gbede said, he is knocking at every door for help and get relief for his people.
“The sight of over 3,000 residents from villages such as Have-Fiakpokorpe, Wordikorpe, Ewekorpe, and many others sharing stagnant water with deadly reptiles, was truly heart-wrenching,” he said.
He appealed that, “In light of these conditions, I would like to use this platform to make a heartfelt appeal to any benevolent organizations that may be in a position to offer aid to these deserving individuals. The situation is dire, and any assistance rendered would undoubtedly be a welcome relief for these struggling communities.”
Meanwhile, students who are affected by the problem have complained that they walk to fetch the dam water from a long distance from their house, adding that the issue is affecting their education.
According to them, they often get tired after walking the distance to fetch the water and that by the time they get to school, they had already exhausted and cannot concentrate in class.
“My house to the dam is very far and sometimes you need to go to the dam to fetch the water like five times then when you are done you prepare for school and with the school you would have to walk another distance so you will be tired in school and sometimes even fall asleep in class,” he said.
The residents are, therefore, appealing to government, NGOs and philanthropist to come to the aid of the community and provide them with potable water which will go a long way to enhance health condition of community members, as well as improving education in the area.
In 2010, the United Nations general assembly declared that human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use. However, the reality is a contravention of the above.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) VI, which Ghana is a signatory to, talks about ensuring available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
The global effort to achieve sanitation and water for all by 2030 is extending beyond the household to include institutional settings, such as schools, healthcare facilities and workplaces.