By Anthony Adongo Apubeo
Bolgatanga, Sept. 8, GNA – Mr Jerry Asamane, the Upper East Regional Director of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), says communities along the White Volta River and its tributaries have been well prepared to prevent loss of lives and minimise destruction of property in this year’s floods.
“We have been talking to the chiefs and opinion leaders to talk to their subjects and we have been doing community visits and because this is an annual thing, the people through our sensitisation have already identified safe places such as Churches, Schools and neighbours at high places that they can go if their houses get flooded.
“We have told the chiefs not to let their subjects get closer to the banks of the river because the banks are now saturated and can cave in and we have also placed our zonal coordinators at major crossing points to prevent people from attempting to use unapproved crosses, but they should use the bridges,” he said.
On September 5, 2023, the Volta River Authority, in a statement indicated that SONABEL had announced that the Bagre Dam had recorded high inflows leading to high reservoir elevations, requiring spillage of water from the Dam.
The VRA, therefore, advised all residents, especially those living along White Volta River to take precautionary measures to avoid being adversely affected by the floods.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Bolgatanga, Mr Asamane indicated the water level in the White Volta River had been rising in the last few days, indicating that the spillage of Bagre Dam from Burkina Faso had begun.
“Since the day before yesterday, we have been experiencing volumes of water coming in and at the various bridges the water level has risen,” he said.
He said apart from the NADMO intensifying education in the communities for residents to take the necessary safety measures, it had been working with the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to activate all response measures to respond to any disaster that the flood was likely to bring.
He said the search and rescue team had been put in place and stationed at Walewale in the North East Region to respond to flood disasters in Northern Ghana and the region had also reactivated its emergency centre to respond appropriately to the flood disasters.
This, he said, would ensure that NADMO strengthen collaboration with various stakeholders in the disaster management chain and respond to emergencies appropriately.
“NADMO, through the government is mobilising relief items but the items cannot be given now because we need to build a data base, the number of farmers, crops, people that are affected and categorizing them to determine how the relief items would be given to the affected people appropriately.
“We are also soliciting for support, so individuals, charitable societies like the churches, NGOs among others can donate to help support our affected farmers,” he said
In the latter part of August 2023, SONABEL, the Power Utility of Burkina Faso, opened one valve of the Bagre Dam to spill excess water to manage inflows into the dam.
This caused flooding to several farmlands, particularly in Bawku West, Binduri and Talensi Districts, among others, however, no life was lost.
Many farmers along the White Volta River had begun harvesting their crops prematurely following the announcement of the spillage of the Bagre Dam.