The Centre for Climate Change and Food Security (CCCFS) has issued a statement expressing deep concern about the devastation resulting from a recent simulation exercise, which included the spilling of the Akosombo Dam, conducted by the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).
While acknowledging the importance of such exercises in testing the country’s preparedness for dam-related emergencies, the CCCFS voiced disappointment regarding the execution of the recent exercise.
According to a public statement issued under the hand of Sulemana Issifu, Director of Research, their preliminary assessment revealed that both the VRA and NADMO did not accurately estimate the scale of the exercise’s impact, leading to the significant destruction witnessed.
The VRA reported that the dam received 200% more water than it could contain, raising questions about the measures in place to preempt such a climate-change-driven water surge. The CCCFS suggested that the VRA has become more reactive than proactive over the years.
In light of these concerns, the CCCFS put forth the following recommendations:
- Criminal Investigation: Initiate a criminal investigation targeting potential criminal negligence among those responsible for preventing or managing such disasters. Holding individuals criminally liable for these incidents is seen as essential to breaking the cycle.
- Relocation of Affected Communities: The government should explore permanent relocation for residents in waterways affected by spilled water or effluents, prioritising this urgent matter.
- Dam Expansion: Consider the possibility of expanding the Akosombo Dam or creating adjoining reservoirs to harvest excess water for various purposes, including agriculture. The lack of capacity enhancement for the dam since its creation has raised questions about Ghana’s commitment to progress.
- Early Warning Mechanism: Establish a robust early warning mechanism that accounts for climate change effects, enabling the estimation of potential damages and their prevention.
- Declaration of State of Emergency:Declare a state of emergency as an urgent response to the scale of damage witnessed, enabling the mobilisation of adequate resources to support those affected by the devastation.
The CCCFS pledged to closely monitor the practical steps taken to address the issues raised in their statement. They extended their thoughts and sympathies to all the victims affected by the Akosombo Dam spillage.
Sulemana Issifu, Director of Research at the CCCFS, emphasised the necessity of taking immediate action to prevent similar disasters and ensure the safety and well-being of the affected communities.