Following the Akosombo Dam spillage, some people have suggested that the government consider relocating the affected victims to the uncompleted Sagleme housing project.
This issue was once again raised by journalists on Friday at Bator in the North Tongu District during an update on the government’s relief efforts after the spillage.
Addressing this concern, the Deputy Minister for Information, Madam Fatimatu Abubakar, however, stated that the government’s approach to post Akosombo Dam spillage is holistic.
She said the government has adopted a three-phase plan to deal with the disaster in its effort to protect lives and finally ensure the resettlement of the affected victims.
The first stage, according to the Deputy Minister, “was to embark on a mission to bring together NADMO and security agencies to recue people who are stack because their homes are flooded.”
“That is why you have the naval boats and the 48 Engineer Regiment, assisting NADMO with naval boats to ensure that people are safe,” she added.
The second phase, she said was to mobilise relief items for the victims who have been relocated to the safe havens and other places.
“To that end, I believe you have seen that someone like Mr Seji Saji, the Deputy D-G of NADMO in charge of Technical and Reforms, is literarily living in this community with you and making sure every single day, provisions like water, medicines, food items and other household essentials are sent to affected persons,” she said.
According to the Deputy Minister, the third phase is the rehabilitation stage, which has begun with the assessment of the affected properties.
She also observed that though the issue of relocation has been raised, it does not appear to be the only solution in this situation.
She disclosed, however, that the government was putting things in place to ensure that the victims were resettled without creating new problems as a result.
Madam Abubakar said, “some technical people from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, including resource persons from the Water Resources Commission, the Water Research Institute, the Hydrological Authority and others, have picked samples and are testing those samples, to ensure that contaminations, be it physical, chemical or bacterial wise are avoided.”
She said the result of this test would determine the next move of the government.
“If the results are out and the government is advised that these places are not habitable and that we need to extend the period of time that the people are supposed to stay in these safe havens or relocated, off course, the best interest of the people is what we have in mind,” she said.
She added that if the test proves that the places are habitable, the government would be ready to help the people rebuild their lives in terms of farms, fish farms, schools and affected hospitals.
“But let us not think that it is relocation or nothing because there are other socio-cultural and other issues and nuances that we have to look at, she advised.
To those calling for the relocation of the victims to Sagleme, she said there are people who have their farms and entire lives in the affected communities so that suggestion cannot be implemented without extensively engaging the victims.
Bala Ali, ISD