In response to the spillover from the Akosombo Dam, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has welcomed the creation of an Inter-ministerial Committee to aid in addressing the flooding and related challenges. The GMA has also begun mobilizing physicians from around the world to assist flood victims.
The GMA released a press release on Monday (October 16, 2023) that was jointly signed and issued by Dr. Frank Serebour, GMA President, and Dr. Richard Selormey, Ag. General Secretary. “The Association is mobilizing our members, logistics, and other resources to support relief efforts in the affected communities and will continue to monitor the situation,” the GMA stated.
According to the statement, the action was taken to support the provision of emergency medical treatment and support, the prevention of potential water-borne illness outbreaks, risk communication, and guaranteeing continuity of critical health services as a basic to a response of this sort.
Even though the Ministry of Health would be a key player in relief operations, the GMA raised worry about the Minister of Health’s omission from the Inter-ministerial Committee.
As a result, the association demanded that the Minister of Health be added as soon as possible.
Communities and property parcels downstream of the Akosombo and Kpong dams have been submerged.
This comes after the second-stage leakage of the two dams, which together produce nearly one-third of Ghana’s energy.
On September 15, 2023, the Volta River Authority (VRA) began the controlled leakage of the Kpong and Akosombo dams, both in the Eastern Region, as a result of excess water in both reservoirs from significant amounts of rainfall.
Nearly every community along the lower Volta Basin has been impacted by the spillage, which has led to extensive power outages there.
Floods at the GRIDCo sub-station in Fievie, Sogakope, in the Volta Region have forced the station to be shut down.
Hospitals in Sogakope and Adidome are particularly affected by the water as a result of the lack of electricity, putting patient lives in peril.
The Akosombo Dam should hold a maximum of 276 feet of water.
The water level in the dam was 276.92 feet or 84.405 meters as of Thursday, October 12.
The level was 272.50 feet, or 83.058 meters, before the spill.
According to the Ghana Navy, the damaging overflow from the Akosombo Dam has resulted in the rescue of nearly 8,000 persons from flood-affected areas.
The combined rescue team deployed to the affected districts is currently monitoring critical infrastructure and responding to distress calls in order to neutralize the effect of the damage caused by the spillage, according to Commodore EA Kwafo of the Naval Training Command during an update on the floods at Mepe in the Volta Region.
If the rescuers are overwhelmed by the current operations, he added, more men and logistics would be dispatched.
“We are monitoring critical infrastructure as well as responding to distress calls from the district assemblies, VRA, and NADMO and we have been rescuing people on the water and we are monitoring the estuary because it becomes a deathtrap in times of flooding.
“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.”
We are prepared to respond to any distress call and help save lives and properties to help mitigate the losses during these trying times, Commodore EA Kwafo further assured. Depending on how things go, we may bring in more facilities and more personnel, or if the situation improves, then we may be keeping a watch anyway.
Read the full statement below:
GHANA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (GMA) STATEMENT ON THE FLOODING IN COMMUNITIES INDUCED BY THE SPILLAGE FROM THE AKOSOMBO DAM
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is deeply concerned by the devastating flooding of many communities along the Volta River as a result of the spillage from the Akosombo Dam.
This has led to the displacement of many communities, destruction of property, loss of livelihoods and disruption of healthcare and other critical services.
The National Executive Council of the GMA expresses its deep sympathy and commiserates with the victims of this unfortunate event.
We are grateful to the Medical Doctors and other health workers rendering relief services to the people affected by this disaster.
The GMA welcomes the formation of an Inter-ministerial Committee to address the flooding and related issues.
We have noted the exclusion of the Minister of Health from this Committee even though the Ministry of Health will play a central role in relief efforts.
The provision of emergency healthcare and support, prevention of possible outbreaks of water-borne diseases, risk communication and ensuring continuity of essential health services are fundamental to a response of this nature.
We therefore call on the government to immediately include the Minster of Health as a matter of urgency.
The Association is mobilizing our members, logistics and other resources to support relief efforts in the affected communities and will continue to monitor the situation.
We appeal to Corporate Ghana, Ghanaians and other stakeholders to support ongoing efforts to rescue and resettle the many people displaced by this tragic event.
The GMA calls for better coordination between the Volta River Authority (VRA), National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and other relevant government agencies to prevent such disasters in the future.