Severe flooding resulting from the Akosombo Dam and Kpong Dam spillage have wreaked havoc on the lives of more than 17,000 children.
A total of 17,287 children, comprising 8,304 males and 8,983 females, have been directly affected by the flooding, with 71 schools, ranging from Kindergarten to Junior High School, directly impacted by the Dam spillage.
There are additional 2,456 children not impacted directly by the floods but cannot go to go school because their schools have been converted into safe havens for victims of the floods caused by Dam spillage.
19,743 children unable to attend school
As a result, 19,743 children are currently unable to attend school, and over 9,000 children have lost their educational materials, including uniforms, bags, books, shoes, and textbooks.
Executive Director of Child Rights International, Bright Appiah revealed the dire consequences of the flooding in lower Volta basin communities during a media briefing.
He emphasized the urgency of the situation, estimating that it will take more than three months for the state to officially send these children back to school.
More than 90% report various ailments
He averred that the aftermath of the flooding has had a severe impact on the health and well-being of children, with more than 90% of children in safe havens reporting various ailments.
The top three diseases reported are malaria (94.3%), skin diseases (70%), and headaches (30%).
Over 95% report feelings of anxiety, sadness
Mr Appiah said the psychological effects of the disaster are also evident, with over 95% of children reporting feelings of anxiety and sadness.
However, he noted that a surprising 20% of children have shown signs of dissociation, claiming that nothing has changed in their lives, and things are just fine.
No designated health centers in safe havens
He pointed out that in the safe havens; there is a noticeable lack of designated health centers, raising concerns among over 90% of children who expressed their desire for these facilities to be made available to meet their needs.
Children with disability report abuses
Mr Appiah revealed that children and parents with disability have faced discrimination, bullying, and negligence, with 100% of children with disability reporting such treatment during the distribution of relief and aid items.
Appeal for help
Child Rights International is reaching out to institutions, organizations, civil society groups, government agencies, and compassionate individuals to provide support for the affected children and relieve their suffering during this difficult time.
750 children caring for aged and persons with disability
According to Mr Appiah, these children have had to assume the role of caregivers for their parents, with about 750 children providing care for the aged and persons with disability.
Child protection issues
Child protection is another critical concern, with instances of physical abuse reported by a small percentage of children.
20% not happy with sleeping arrangements
He noted that approximately 20% of children expressed displeasure over sleeping arrangements in some safe havens, where rooms were occupied by both males and females, leading to discomfort and a lack of privacy.
Girls lack personal hygiene products
He said adolescent girls, representing 18.6% of the total affected children, have reported a lack of access to personal hygiene products such as sanitary towels, resorting to unhygienic alternatives.
To address these pressing issues, Child Rights International has outlined several recommendations.
It plans to conduct remediation exercises to provide affected children with books and other school materials.
Additionally, Child Rights International will supply sanitary towels to adolescent girls affected by the flood to ensure their access to clean and hygienic options.
The organization has also called on all entities involved in the distribution of relief items to ensure equitable distribution, particularly for children with disability and those caring for parents with disability.
Child Rights International urged the Ghana Education Service to develop and implement an Education Recovery Plan (ERP) to expedite the reintegration of affected children into schools.