Charles McCarthy, Editor of the Hawk Newspaper, has expressed deep disappointment in Ghana’s handling of the Akosombo Dam spillage, labelling it a “VRA disaster.” During the Editor’s Take on the Happy Morning Show, McCarthy emphasised that a nation of 66 years should have been better prepared to handle such crises and criticised those in power for neglecting the situation.
“We should all be deeply concerned and disheartened. It’s a disgrace that, at 66 years, we can’t manage a man-made disaster. To be clear, it’s a VRA disaster because our leaders fail to value and respect us. They’re moving around, talking down, and ignoring the real concerns stemming from the damage caused by this disaster,” he expressed.
McCarthy highlighted that the Volta River Authority (VRA) claimed to have predicted the spillage back in November 2022 but failed to take necessary precautions and implement emergency measures. This lack of action has had devastating consequences for affected communities and the nation as a whole.
“Confidently, it can be stated that they predicted the spillage in November 2022. However, none of our authorities considered it wise to prepare relief and emergency measures,” he added.
The Akosombo Dam, operated by the Volta River Authority (VRA), initiated the water spillage on September 15, 2023, in response to a consistent rise in the inflow pattern and water level of the Akosombo reservoir. Initially described as a disaster mitigation plan, the spillage began at a low rate, with minimal impact on downstream communities. However, on October 10, 2023, the VRA opened six spillage gates to increase the flow as water inflow continued to rise, posing a threat to the dam’s maximum capacity.
The primary objective of this intensified spillage was to safeguard the dam’s structural integrity and technological installations. Regrettably, this decision has led to the overflow of the Volta River’s banks, displacing settlements across nine different district assemblies in the Volta and Eastern regions. Affected areas include the North, Central, and South Tongu District Assemblies, Asuogyaman, Shai Osudoku, and Ada.
Communities along the lower Volta Basin have borne the brunt of the crisis, experiencing widespread power outages, submerged houses, and displaced residents in dire need. Additionally, the extensive release of water from the dams has caused flooding in lagoons within the Keta basin, impacting several communities in the Anlo and Keta districts.
Even the hospitality sector has not been spared, with notable facilities such as Villa Cisneros, Sogakope Beach Resort and Spa, and Holy Trinity Spa and Health Farm being affected by the flooding. In a concerning development, 25 nurses were evacuated from the nurses’ quarters at the Comboni District Hospital in Sogakope, underscoring the profound human impact of this ongoing disaster.
McCarthy’s passionate critique highlights the inadequacies in disaster management and underscores the need for accountability and proactive measures to mitigate the impact of similar events in the future.