From last week, October 9, 2023, tracts of land and communities downstream the Akosombo and Kpong dams have been flooded.
This follows the second-stage spillage of the two dams used to generate about a third of Ghana’s electricity supply.
The Volta River Authority (VRA) started the controlled spillage at the Akosombo and Kpong dams, both in the Eastern Region, from September 15, 2023 following excess water in both reservoirs due to appreciable levels of rainfall.
According to the VRA, the water level in the reservoir has reached its safe operating level. Hence, there is a need to release water from the reservoir to make room to be able to accommodate incoming flows. Without spilling, the water may overtop the dam and compromise its integrity.
The spillage has forced many communities in the north, south, and Central Tongu districts of the Volta Region to evacuate.
While the current inflow to the reservoir is pegged at 400,000 cubic feet of water per second, the authority says it is spilling just about 183,000 cubic feet of water, and they cannot ascertain when the spilling exercise will be over.
The GRIDCo sub-station in Fievie, Sogakope, in the Volta Region, has been inundated with floods, leading to the shutting down of the station.
With the absence of electricity, public installations, including hospitals in Sogakope and Adidome, are bearing the brunt of the flooding, leaving the lives of patients in danger.
The Ghana Navy has disclosed that over 8,000 people have been rescued from flood-stricken areas. Commodore EA Kwafo from the Naval Training Command during an update on the floods at Mepe in the Volta Region said the combined rescue team deployed to the affected districts is currently monitoring critical infrastructure and responding to distress calls in order to neutralise the effect of the damage caused by the spillage.
“We were keeping watch on critical infrastructure and as of yesterday evening, we had evacuated over 8,000 flood-stricken people to safe havens and we have brought over ten more boats downstream and experienced divers and lifesavers to assist in the rescue efforts,” he said.
Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama, has called on the Volta River Authority (VRA) to hasten efforts to support residents in communities along the Volta River affected by the spillage from the Akosombo Dam.
On October 13, Mr. Mahama visited parts of Sogakope and Sokpoe to assess the impact of the spillage and to meet with affected communities and facilities.
For his part, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was on October 16 joined by members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the government to help address the havoc caused downstream by the Akosombo Dam spillage and to help bring relief to those affected.
Apart from assessing the impact of the floods firsthand, the President also announced measures to bring relief to the flood victims.
Speaking in an interview with Catholic Trends, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Rev. Mathew Kwasi Gyamfi said the Church is at this moment assessing the impact of the floods to ascertain the needs of the victims to be able to respond appropriately.
According to him, an assessment team comprising officials from CARITAS Ghana and the Bishop of the Keta-Akatsi Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji has been on the ground and will soon report to the Conference for further action.
“Our Office and the section that is in charge of such disasters is Caritas. Caritas has already been in the region with Bishop Kumordji who happens to be in charge of Carita for us to have first-hand information on what the situation is and then to know what help the Church will send there. We want to be able to respond appropriately by touching on the needs of the people,” Bishop Gyamfi said.
Archbishop of Accra, Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie released a communique last week appealing for relief items for victims of the disaster.
“My dear brothers and sisters, the Volta River spillage has flooded Mepe, parts of Vume and Asutuare and other towns along the River and has left the people displaced. Several houses and the Church at Mepe, for example, are submerged. I’m appealing to all Christ’s faithful to support them with clothes and relief items. Kindly direct your
support to Rev. Fr. Matthias King, SVD, Parish Priest of Battor (0243026778). If you need assistance to convey the items to Mepe or any other town, kindly contact your Parish Priest for further assistance. He will link you to the
authorities responsible,” the communique said.