In the wake of the recent catastrophic human-induced flood caused by the release of water from the dams harboring the Akosombo and Kpong Hydroelectricity Installations, communities along the Lower Volta Basin find themselves on the brink of a looming health crisis. As the waters recede, though at snail-pace, a myriad of obvious challenges emerge, ranging mainly from contaminated water sources to increased risk of diseases. This short write-up delves into some of the multifaceted repercussions of this preventable flood, shedding a sharp light on the urgent need for rapid disaster response and immediate as well as long-term health interventions to safeguard the well-being of these affected inhabitants of the hard-hit communities.
In the North Tongu Constituency, reports have so far it that there is an increase in recorded cases of malaria and diarrhoea. As much as seventeen (17) health workers, including nurses from various health facilities, have been rendered homeless.
The South Tongu District Hospital has been over-stretched and over-whelmed due to the complete closure of the Comboni Polyclinic that was submerged by the spilled flood waters. The largest state health facility at Sogakope is recording an increase in the number of OPD cases while some patients on admission had to sleep on the floor due to limited bed capacity.
The facility in Kpongbonikope in South Dayi has been totally cut off hence hindering the residents of Adzibui access to health care facilities. Some of the people in these riverine areas within South Dayi are left with no option than to continue using the polluted spilled water that has run through public toilets, septic tanks and morgues in the affected communities for their domestic and commercial purposes thereby exposing them to faeco-oral diseases and water borne illness.
Communities such as Awate, Tornu, Tsorxor and Wusutakpebi rely mostly on water from the Volta Lake, and this water has currently been polluted. The boreholes in the communities are broken down leaving the people with no other choice than to make do with the contaminated water from the Volta Lake.
The Hatsukope and Blekusu health facilities have been closed down by virtue of the flood waters. Those in Klikor and Blekusu are currently cut off, making it difficult for other communities to access.
The people within the Anyako, Seva, Borlorve and Norlorpi are currently finding it very difficult to access health care. Residents of Anyako also have the challenge of insufficient water supply.
The facilities in Kodzi, Galo-Sota, Trekume, Tregui lack adequate medical consumables.
The Call by Volta NDC
The NDC in the Volta Region is thereby:
1. Calling on Hon. Freda Prempeh, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources to increase the supply of pipe borne water to the affected areas especially in South Dayi and North Dayi Districts.
2. Demanding for the urgent repair of all spoiled bore holes and the construction of new mechanized boreholes in areas that are in dire need.
3. Imploring the Ministry of Health to engage in a vigorous health campaign in the affected areas and also come out with innovative ways of reducing the pressure on the Sogakope District Hospital.
4. Increase mobile clinics in inaccessible areas
5. Calling for the increase in the supply of medical consumables to the affected areas for proper health care.
In conclusion, the recent flooding caused by spilled water from the Kpong and Akosombo hydroelectric installations poses a significant health crisis for the communities along its banks. The aftermath of this avoidable disaster demands urgent attention, especially from those in government, to address the health and environmental challenges that these communities now face. Immediate relief efforts, long-term mitigation strategies, and comprehensive healthcare support are crucial to help these communities recover and rebuild their lives in the wake of this crisis.
Sorkpa Kafui Agbleze
(NDC Volta Regional Communications Officer)