A team from the Ghana Armed Forces headed by the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu yesterday took an aerial tour of places affected by the Akosombo Dam Spillage.
The team was led by the Director-General National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh
The team also visited some safe havens at Mepa in the North Tongu District and Akpa in the Central Tongu District where about 6,000 affected victims are being hosted by NADMO and VRA.
The delegation was accompanied by Mr. Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VRA, and his deputies, the deputy DG for NADMO Mr. Seji Saji, and the chief executives of affected districts and municipalities.
This is continuation of a national response exercise which has been going on for days.
The 48 Engineer Regiment has been pivotal in alleviating the woes of flood-affected citizens.
The spillage is to prevent the water from overtopping and compromising the integrity of the dams.
A total of 9 districts have been affected in the Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region and in the North, Central and South Tongu districts in the Volta Region.
Communities flooded in Eastern Region
A preliminary investigation estimates that approximately 80 houses in Akate, Akrusu, Agajajete, Fatain, Akokomba, Djogbe, Ayisu, Odenkyenease, and others have been destroyed by the ongoing spillage by the Volta River Authority from Akosombo Dam.
Mr. Samuel Akor, Upper Manya Krobo District NADMO Director said water levels within the Upper Manya Krobo area kept increasing daily, displacing more than 100 residents in the area.
At Akuse, also in the Eastern Region, the spillage had affected communities such as Dzidzorkope, Mamakope, Ahenbrom and others.
Communities flooded in Volta Region
The floods have also claimed large parts of Tefle, Wume, Sokpoe and other communities along the river as well as settlements, including Alikekope, Agorme and Agbave.
Mafi Dugame, Kebegodo, Atsemkope, Akpokope, Devime, Avadiwoekome, Siamekope and Bekpo, all in the Central Tongu District in the Volta Region were also affected.
Notable hospitality facilities affected by the floods include Villa Cisneros, the Sogakope Beach Resort and Spa, and the Holy Trinity Spa and Health Farm.
The volume of water spilled from the two dams have also caused some lagoons in the Keta basin to overflow their banks, leading to flooding in many communities in the Anlo and Keta districts.
VRA and NADMO presented relief items to the victims in the affected three districts that is the Central Tongu, North Tongu and Ada East district.
The items included mattresses, blankets, various food items, clothes, and toiletries.
Provision of medical care
Moreover, they have provided medical care to victims, irrespective of insurance status, reinforcing the government’s commitment to the well-being of citizens.
It is estimated that properties worth millions of cedis have been destroyed.
The flooding has submerged educational infrastructure disrupting schooling of pupils.
The floods have affected access to communities as roads have been cut off, leaving commuters stranded, with others resorting to the use of boats and canoes which further endanger their lives.
Health care facilities have also been submerged which means those in need of healthcare risk losing their lives.
The government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to help address havoc caused downstream by the Akosombo Dam and Kpong Dam spillages.
The committee headed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare will coordinate government’s response to the spillage.
The other committee members include ministers from National Security, Interior, Defence, Energy, Finance, Local Government, Works and Housing, Roads and Highways, Environment, Sanitation, Lands and Natural Resources and Information.
The spillage which started on September 15, 2023 after engaging residents downstream of the dam has affected almost all the communities along the lower Volta Basin, resulting in widespread flooding.
Water level in the dam
The maximum level of water in the Akosombo Dam should be 276 feet.
As of Thursday October 12, the water level in the dam was 276.92 feet or 84.405 metres.
This is not the first time VRA is spilling water from the Akosombo Dam.
Water spillage years
The last was in 2010, having spilled water from the dam in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1991.
The spillage began at a low rate for about one and a half weeks with no impact on downstream communities.
However, the inflow into the reservoir continues to increase at a higher rate, and therefore there was the need to increase the spill rate in order to slow down the rate at which the reservoir elevation was rising.
This has resulted in the flooding of some communities downstream of the Dams.
ECG restores power
The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) said it has restored electricity power to the Adidome and its environs, tapping from Juapong communities resulting from the Akosombo Dam spillage.
It said six communities, including Mafi Tsrawla, are yet to be connected due to a downpour, which destroyed most buildings and electricity poles.
The Company shut down its Point at Sogakope to safeguard the Station, which was flooded because of the spillage.
Power went down at Sogakope, Anloga, Keta, Akatsi South, Abor and North Tongu districts but was restored except Sogakope.
Volta Regional House of Chiefs
President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Togbe Tepre Hodo IV called on the central government to help alleviate the immense sufferings of victims of the Akosombo Dam spillage.
The House, in the appeal through the Volta Regional Coordinating Council, said the various affected communities should be assisted with logistics and safety equipment NADMO.
Togbe Tepre Hodo said information reaching the House indicated that there was insufficient notice to the affected areas to enable them to take any precautionary measures before the spillage.
He said, “this has resulted in catastrophic loss and displacement to the indigenes and businesses operating in the catchment areas.”
Togbe Tepre Hodo said the spillage had further resulted in the disruption of electricity supply to various communities affected.
Political figures visit
Mr Alan Kyerematen, Founder of Movement for Change and Mr John Dramani Mahama, Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), have toured and commiserated with victims of communities affected.
Mahama, at Mepe on Friday, called for the desilting of the Lower Volta Basin, particularly the estuary at Ada, during his tour to the affected areas.
He said the situation had compounded the flooding after the Volta River Authority (VRA) spilled excess water from the Akosombo and the Kpong Dams.
Mr Mahama called on NADMO to take immediate steps to support the affected communities with relief items and other security measures to secure life and property.
He said it was sad that NADMO lacked resources to immediately and effectively respond to plights of citizens due to government’s failure to support the Organisation.
Mr Kyerematen in Mepe, one of the affected communities, said the situation has become a national disaster emergency and appealed to all and sundry, public and private actors to lend a hand.
He said he was touched by the inconveniences caused by the spillage, which took many people out from their homes although no casualty was recorded.
Mr Kyerematen said he would support the flood victims in the coming month and urged residents to stay calm as he hoped, the District Assembly would also put in much effort to ensure that lives were saved.
Residents continue to cry for support from the government to cushion them as many of them occupy classrooms for safety.
VRA explained that it is focusing on safeguarding life and property as well as supporting the residents in communities affected by the spillage.
Mr Ken Arthur, Deputy Chief Executive Services VRA, said the Authority was concentrating on bringing relief items and making sure that those displaced are at least comfortable.
He said the VRA and local officials in the affected communities were monitoring the situation and would react appropriately in line with the emergency preparedness plan.
“So, at this stage of phase two, we have established what we call the emergency operational centres and these are manned by NADMO officials and they coordinate all the activities that are going on in the various communities and districts. So they give us feedback on all the heavily impacted areas for us to also respond immediately,” he added.
Mr Arthur said it was difficult to tell specifically when the spillage would stop even though there was anticipation that the levels might drop down to the phase one, which was started since September 15.
However, he said the volumes of water that was coming into the lake right now had imposed on the Authority the obligation to save the dam from collapse and at the same time evacuate people and ensure they were safe.
He said it was normal at this time of the year to experience inflows but the dam this year was getting more than expected and to safeguard it “we have to spill water that is the standard operation for any hydro dam.”
“We will review the situation and see what happens,” he added.
“VRA stores a lot of water during the inflow systems. That is why spilling is also not even a recurring thing that we do. The last time was 2010 and before then it was 1991. So we’ve stored enough water. It goes to a point where it will be above the capacity of the dam so it’s impossible to store any more water,” he said.
Mr Edward Obeng-Kenzo, Deputy Chief Executive Engineering and Operations VRA, said the controlled spillage of water from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams was due to high inflows into the reservoir, resulting in the water level exceeding its upper level.
VRA’s Emergency Preparedness Plan and Standard Operating Procedures, formal letters were sent to all the stakeholders (both at the National and District levels, including all communities and people living along the downstream of the Dams) to inform them of the spillage.
Before the spill rate was increased, VRA) in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), evacuated some of the residents in the affected communities to higher grounds (the designated Safe Haven for those communities) and essential relief items were provided for the affected communities on October 11, 2023.