General News of Fri, 31 Aug 20074
U/E Minister solicits help for flood victims
Bolgatanga, Aug. 31, GNA- The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Alhassan Samari, has appealed to Government, charitable organisations, religious bodies and non-governmental organisations to make available emergency relief aid to victims of the recent floods in the region. At a press conference in Bolgatanga on Thursday, Mr Samari said such assistance would go a long way in helping the victims to contain the hardships they are facing.
Almost all the Districts in the Region have been hit by the disaster as a result of the torrential rains, which hit the area from last Friday August 24 to Wednesday, August 29, 2007.
The situation was aggravated by the opening of the spillway of the Bagre Dam in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
Consequently, more than 3000 houses in the Talensi-Nabdam, Bongo, Builsa and Bawku districts have been destroyed, rendering almost 8000 inhabitants homeless. Also destroyed are several hundreds of hectares of farmland, roads and bridges.
Prominent among the collapsed bridges are the Kulungugu bridge on the Bawku-Burkina Faso main road, which links Ghana with neighbouring countries in the hinterland and the Tamne bridge on the Garu-Zabugu-Bawku road.
"Granting that the region has a population of a little over 900,000, then it could be conclusively implied that about 720,000 people are affected since the extent of the devastation has been put at roughly 80 per cent," the Regional Minister told newsmen at the conference.
Mr. Samari indicated that so far six persons are officially known to have lost their lives in the wake of the disaster, but added that the total extent of damage could not be made available immediately as the relevant data were still being compiled. He announced that a team from the Field Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces led by Major Mustapha Mohammed visited the Kulungu and Tamne bridges earlier in the week and would soon begin their rehabilitation in collaboration with the regional department of the Ghana Highways Authority. He appealed to public-spirited organisations and philanthropists both in Ghana and abroad, to come to the aid of the affected communities with food, clothing, camp-tents, roofing sheets, cement, house-hold items including mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets, cooking utensils and pharmaceutical drugs. Some of the families displaced by the floods are putting up with relatives while others have been accommodated in school buildings and churches temporarily.
The Regional Minister indicated that the re-opening dates of schools in the affected communities might be postponed till the victims were able to rehabilitate and move back into their homes. Meanwhile, a high-powered government team including the Minister of Interior and the Army Commander arrived in Bolgatanga on Friday to embark on a tour of the areas affected by the floods.