The death toll in the devastating Bagre dam spillage in Northern Ghana has risen to 34 from the previously reported 18, officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) have confirmed to Starr News.
Two more persons are reported missing while thousands have been displaced.
Even though no senior government official has visited the disaster scene, Northern regional minister Salif Saeed has described as baseless criticism of the government’s handling of the aftermath of the spillage.
A host of non-governmental organizations and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) slammed the government for appearing aloof in the wake of the destruction in the northern regions.
“Everybody along this spillage way is now for himself or herself. That’s lamentable,” the NDC Member of Parliament for Tamale Central Inusah Fuseini said.
In a riposte, Saeed rejected the criticism, suggesting that it was borne out of misinformation. He further defended the silence of Dr Bawumia on the disaster when he visited the region, noting that he needed to be fully briefed before he speaks.
“He didn’t take a decision not to meet the people and he is in constant touch with the people. He came and did very significant activities, national activities with the people in the region. The Vice President doesn’t talk just for talking sake, when he is talking he has to talk to the issue, he shouldn’t just be speculating, so that is why if you have not heard from him, he needs to get proper briefing with regards to what and what is happening on the ground, that will guard him because whatever he says, it will mean a lot,” said Saeed.
He further stated that notwithstanding, the vice president met with some of the victims when he visited the region and that now that he has been fully briefed and up-to-speed with the situation he is returning to hit the affected ground for first-hand information.
“The key stakeholders we met, they called for them to brief him, to give him detail briefing on where and where the problems are, and then we met and discussed. So we gave him detail briefing and he’s now going to fully involve himself directly.
“In all these affected areas, there are leaders leading the process, even the items and whatever, we called some of them to come and pick some relieve items from the regional level. So he met them and he needed to rush back to Accra for another national assignment, then to come back to properly go onto the ground himself,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Security analyst Adam Bonah has called for the immediate declaration of a “state of emergency” in the northern regions following the devastating twin occurrence of the spillage.
“This thing has been going on for how many weeks? The state of emergency should have been declared by now. ECOWAS should have been brought in because it has to do with intra-Africa, where you have water spillage from a neighbouring country into another neighbouring country that has affected about 50, 000,” said Bonah on Morning Starr.