Is It Only Mepe?

The recent floods, which came as a result the Volta Lake and River overflowing their banks, caused lots of devastation in areas very closed by the banks.Treated as an emergency case, relief items were sent to affected areas. At this point, may I highly commend the hardworking and dedicated Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu. He had shown that he has his people at heart and could be seen or heard championing their course.

The centre of activity was Mepe in the North Tognu area. And Mepe has dominated the news when it comes to aid and relief items.

Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa is always seen and heard making all efforts to bring relief to his people. One wonders what the MP of Shai Osudoku, Hon. Linda Ocloo, is doing in relation to the devastation of Agboviekpon and Agbovienya.

These two communities were completely wiped off by the floods and the people were relocated to Tokpo. What I heard from my sources is that relief items were scantly distributed, not as aggressively as is being done in Mepe. Those in charge are NADMO and some media houses. And without any directives, most of these relief items do not reach those in need.

It is really sad that the very people who seem to have taken a sacred vow to support the NDC and vote for any candidate on the party’s ticket, would be turned down on at the time of dire needs. Such needsconcerningthe matter of life and death.

Upstream, conditions were also not too different. Communities like Asakeso, Akaten and Dedeso among others in the Upper Manya Krobo constituency, which were wiped down by the floods, were also missing on the radar when it came to national attention.

The MP for the area, Hon. Bismack Tetteh Nyarko, has never being heard from, as no one stood up to speak for the constituency. And some communities in the Oti region were also badly affected. In the North, news came about floods in Buipe and other areas. In all these,  no MP or chief executive had taken the task to fight for their people. The lone ranger in all this, is Hon OkudzetoAblakwa and he must highly be acknowledged. A true MP for the people.

What has been going on yearly is the disaster, caused by spillage from the Bagre dam in Burkina Faso. This exercise results in flooding in low-lying communities, destruction of crops, livestock and sometimes loss of lives.

Twenty-eight districts and municipalities, seven from the Northern region, three from the Upper East region, four from the Upper West region, five from the North-East region, three from Savannah region, four from the Oti region, and two from the Eastern region suffer devastations from floods, every year.

In most cases, they are worse than what happened in Mepe. Over the years, several homes, farmlands and properties have been destroyed by floods, lives lost and hundreds rendered homeless.

With what happened in Mepe, throwing light on the hazardous effects of flooding, it is about time a national policy is made and enacted to address these disasters. While we are at it, we should not lose sight of what can happen to our coastal communities, should tsunami strike.

With the floods, it is about time we start constructing underground reservoirs to harvest waters from floods and the rains. During the dry seasons, such waters can be used for useful purposes. Dams need to be constructed to take in excess water and such dams could be turned into fish farms and used in irrigating lands for food production.

Communities must be relocated distances away from major water bodies, so that when the floods come, people and properties will not be affected.

What happened in Mepe has been happening yearly in some communities and so now that Ghanaians are crying for the people of Mepe, we must find lasting solutions to all communities that are hit with this natural disaster called flooding.

I will end this opinion, by doffing my hat to Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa for the way he tirelessly worked to bring national and international attention to the plight of his people. He did what true leaders should do. I cannot say much about Hon. Linda Ocloo, Hon. Bismark Nyarko, all MPs whose communities were badly hit by the floods, but seemed silent and quiet. Next year is Election year and these MPs will come out and appeal for votes from their constituents.

As for the MPs and the chief executives of communities, annually devastated by floods from the Bagre dam spillages, and to date have not drawn Ghanaians attentions to the plight of their people, I feel sad for them. The lives of the people matter more than the offices and position they occupy. Without the people, they would not be in such high positions.

And by the way, was it the North Tongu District Chief Executive, Hon. Divine OsbonFenu, telling Ghanaians on television that the assembly had no money to fuel vehicles to go round and distribute relief items? How can that be possible? Yes, how, when the relief items included cash? I hold my thoughts.

Other nations face worse situations from flooding, annually, than we are facing, but they have successfully implemented plans, programmes and infrastructures to address the problem. It is time Ghana rises to that level.

By Hon. Daniel Dugan

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.


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