DCE fears about possible outbreak of infectious diseases

…in the Buipe flood disaster zone

From: Edmond Gyebi, Tamale

Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa Doe (left), Upper East Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Yusif Adam (middle), Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Mrs. Lucy Awuni, addressing Muslins at Abiliaba Park in Bolgtanga (right)

The Central Gonja District Assembly is worried about the possible outbreak of infectious   diseases, following the government’s inability to provide adequate shelter and other forms of support for the over 31,000 people affected by the recent devastating flood in Buipe.

According to the District Chief Executive (DCE), Issifu Sualisu Be-Awuribe, the disaster had forced most of the young girls, including students, whose parents had lost their homes to seek refuge from perceived benevolent men.

He said some of the parents were now staying at different places from their children, and could no longer monitor the movement of their wards.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle at his office in Buipe, the DCE maintained that one of the major headaches of the Assembly, at the moment, was how to provide decent accommodation or shelter for the victims, most of who, he said, were women and children.

With the harmattan season fast approaching, Mr. Be-Awuribe bemoaned that if swift measures were not put in place to curtail accommodation problems facing the victims, there would be a serious outbreak of infectious diseases, especially, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis (CSM) among others.

When The Chronicle visited the victims at the various classrooms where they are lodging, the majority of them expressed diverse views about their present conditions, with some of them commending the District Assembly for showing much concern, while others complained bitterly about the serious congestion in their rooms.

It was discovered that some of the classrooms contain between 42 and 60 people, together with their luggage.

The victims were highly alarmed by the low level of relief given to them by the government, and other agencies, especially, in the area of shelter, first aid and food.

The Chronicle’s follow up visit to the area, uncovered how the victims were struggling to survive the test of the floods.

Over 31,000 people, including women and children, have been displaced by the Buipe flood. About 3,234 houses in 60 communities, 23,588 farmlands, 1,109 livestock, schools, roads and bridges have also been destroyed. One child was also reported dead.

It was discovered that most of the victims had now moved to the Northern part of the Brong Ahafo Region, notably, Mpaha, Gulumpe, Babatokuma, Kintampo and Techiman, while the rest are crowded in classrooms, and the few tents provided by UN agencies.

Even though the Volta River Authority (VRA) has spilled out some quantity of water from the Akosombo Dam, the water level in the Black Volta in Buipe is yet to see any reduction.

The Central Gonja National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Coordinator, Abudu Bawa, told the paper that the relief items received by the District Assembly so far, could not cater for the victims, and appealed for more support.

He was also worried about congestion at the various camps where the victims were lodging.

Commendably, however, the national office of NADMO has since released 100 bags of rice, 200 bags of maize, 50 packets of roofing sheets, 50 boxes of nails, 1,000 plastic containers and 100 blankets for the over 31,000 affected people.

But the items are inadequate, and cannot even satisfy 10% of the people for the time being.

DCE Be-Awuribe therefore, appealed to government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), humanitarian agencies, and benevolent individuals to assist the Assembly to make life more comfortable for the victims.

Mr. Be-Awuribe was also concerned about how the farmers, whose farmlands had been washed away by the floods, could recover their losses.

He therefore, appealed to the banks and other financial agencies to come to the aid of the farmers.

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