Politics

Mahama urges VRA to expedite relief action for flood-affected communities

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Former president and 2024 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John 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.

Flooding caused by the spillage has forced many communities in the north, south, and Central Tongu districts of the Volta Region to evacuate, leaving them with no choice but to try and salvage what’s left of their belongings.

On Friday, Mr Mahama visited parts of Sogakope and Sokpoe to assess the impact of the spillage and to meet with affected communities and families.

The situation was dire, with the Comboni Hospital staff having to evacuate their quarters and seek shelter under a pavilion.

Patients have also been discharged, with only ten in critical condition remaining. If the water levels do not recede soon, they may also have to be discharged.

“It’s heartbreaking that we may have to let go of these patients,” a nurse said. “But if things don’t get better, we won’t have any other choice.”

The former President urged the VRA to quickly deliver the promised relief support to the affected communities after his visit and interaction with residents, management, and staff of the Comboni hospital.

In his words, “This is about people’s lives. I will thank the VRA and appeal to them to expedite their efforts because the people are in need. We must help them to cope with the situation.”

He expressed his disappointment that the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) has been unable to assist the affected communities due to a lack of relief items.

He also noted that the spillage was caused by large inflows from above the dam due to heavy rains in the northern parts of the country but advised the VRA to consider desilting the river.

“If you don’t spill, it is possible that the dam can give way, and that will be more catastrophic, especially down the southern Volta. But we must dredge so that the extra volumes of water can flow faster. For example, under the Volta Bridge is silted. If it is de-silted, the water will flow away faster.”

To emphasise the urgency of relief efforts and the impact of the situation on people, Mr Mahama spoke about the possibility of the hospital asking families to collect the 300 dead bodies from the mortuary and find other places to accommodate them.

“We need the government to take this seriously,” a community leader told Mr Mahama. “The lives of our people are at stake, and their well-being should be a top priority.”

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