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Floods displace thousands in the north
 
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28-Sep-2009  
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Over 121,000 people in 26 districts in the three northern regions remain in distress following recent floods that claimed eight lives and left in their wake huge material losses.

At least 24 communities are still cut cut-off from the rest of the country and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) is commandeering aid for distribution to the affected persons.

Briefing the media in Tamale on Sunday Mr Kofi Portuphy, NADMO chief, called the human suffering “excessive” and appealed for further assistance to bring succour to the affected persons whose suffering escalated on September 22 when more rains made their situation worse.

He said 924 communities and their farms had either been washed away or submerged by the raging waters due to the swelling of major water bodies in the affected areas.

The flooding was made worse by the opening of the Bagre Hydro Dam in neighbouring Burkina Faso, thus inundating thousands of communities sited along the banks of the rivers.

Mr Portuphy said at least 5,104 houses have collapsed, 13 public schools have been destroyed and 30, 000 acres of farm land have been destroyed.

Talking about the inaccessible 24 communities, Mr Portuphy said the military had provided helicopters that are now being used to reach the people.

He said although officials of his outfit had used a combination of outboard motors to get to some of the settlements, this had not been so with the 24 because of tree stumps which constitute a hazard to the rotor of the machines.

Touching on cause of death of the 8 persons Mr Portuphy said some of them were swept away as they made attempts to salvage farm and household effects.

He said even now, the NADMO had to relocate some of its relief centres as the floodwaters surged but it had been difficult to do same with most of the communities because of their refusal to leave behind personal effects.
So far the NADMO had distributed household wares, food items, lamps, blankets and clothing.

Of particular concern to NADMO is the possible outbreak of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery because almost all sources of drinking water have been contaminated.

The NADMO chief said that difficulty was being resolved by the provision of water treating tablets to chlorate drinking water.

He said in view of the sheer scale of the disaster, government had appealed for support from organizations including the UN system and the response had been satisfactory.

Mr Portuphy said the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was collaborating with NADMO to provide short gestation seedlings to farmers.

Responding to questions as to why it has not been possible for the NADMO to resettle the affected farmers Mr Portuphy said NADMO, in collaboration with the Red Cross Society, built 300 houses around Nawulu following the 2007 floods but the people refused to occupy them.

Mr Portuphy commended the Field Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Army which had helped to secure safe passage to the Janga, Kpanusikpe and Kabori communities.

Outlining ways to contain future floods he said NADMO had proposed the construction of dams in addition to building raised highways that could serve as buffer.

Vice President John Mahama has visited some of the affected communities and presented relief items to them.

He appealed to the relief coordinators to discharge their duty devoid of partisan interests in the distribution of the items.

Vice President Mahama directed that more relief items should be given directly to women and children rather than channelling them through heads of families.
 
 
 
Source: GNA
 
 

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