The combined effect of the water levels of the White Volta rising and the Bagre dam being opened could leave almost 200,000 persons affected by flooding in northern Ghana and beyond.
This year, the rains forecasts are going to be very heavy and they have started already in the north… Combined with the rainfall patterns, we are looking at almost half of the three northern regions being affected,” the Deputy Director of NADMO, Abu Ramadan said on Eyewitness News.The impact of the flooding could extend to economic activities because “it is not just the human beings but the livestock and the farms that will be affected so it will have a great impact on cash and the economy of the people within the three northern regions.”
Areas in the Nothern Region recently had to contend with severe flooding from rainfall that left two persons dead.
The flooding also destroyed homes, livestock, feeder roads and farmlands in some parts of the region, even cutting off some towns.
A recent report concerning the threat of flooding “has sent panic” through NADMO, according to Mr. Ramadan.
This is especially so with the Bagre Dam situation because “these are water levels, that when they rise beyond the warning levels, there is a possibility of it breaking its boundaries and causing flooding situations.”
Bagre is almost about 20 percent full hence the need for it to be opened to prevent the breaking, he said.
Preemptive action underway
In anticipation of this, NADMO’s “operation thunderbolt” is already on the ground in the Northern Region and will be stationed in Wale Wale.
“Now we want to be in place before the incident happens so that we can raise more awareness and move people to highlands so that when the Bagre dam is opened, we can look at how best [we can handle the situation].”
” …we are taking experts, an urban search and rescue team and all manner of equipment to go and help the people so that we don’t have a huge disaster when the dam is opened.”
“We are looking at almost 50,000 to 60,000 people” who could be affected by a possible spillage he observed, a number that could double when the rain and the rising levels of the White Volta are factored in.
The flooding will affect about seven districts in the three northern regions; West Mamprusi, Savelugu Nanton, Tolon, Kumbungu, North, Central and West Gonja districts.
“There will be residual effects in the Eastern Regional Volta Region areas but if it is well managed up there, the impact level will be low as it comes down,” Mr. Ramadan also noted.
NADMO’s focus in the mean time will be “to go out and start sensitizing people, identifying safe havens and high grounds where when the thing starts, we can ask them to move.”
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana