The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, expressed deep concern over the government’s sluggish response to the aftermath of the Akosombo Dam spillage, asserting that it is unacceptable that five months after the incident, no substantial action has been taken to restore the lives of the affected individuals.
Mr. Ablakwa expressed dismay at the lack of concrete action by the government despite budgeting over GH₵200 million for the resettlement of victims.
Speaking at the commissioning of housing units for 300 affected victims, he urged the government to promptly address the situation, emphasizing that tents are unsuitable for long-term habitation, especially with changing seasons.
While acknowledging the completion of new homes for some victims, Mr Ablakwa highlighted that it only covered a fraction of the displaced population.
“Yes, thanks to First Sky we delivered the first 300 (homes), today we are delivering the next 300. But that is only 600. According to NADMO, 12,633 people were displaced. So, we are only taking care of the number on top of the 12,000. We are all taxpayers. As a Member of Parliament, I know that every year we approve what is known as a contingency fund.”
“Under Article 177 of the constitution, the contingency fund is supposed to take care of emergency situations of this nature. Where is the money approved for the contingency fund? And when would the 2024 allocation be released?” Mr Ablakwa quizzed.
This comes months after the Volta River Authority (VRA) commenced water spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong dams. The exercise, which began on September 15, 2023, due to a consistent rise in the inflow pattern and water level of the Akosombo reservoir, led to the overflow of the Volta River.
This resulted in massive flooding and displacement of settlements in about nine different district assemblies in the Volta and Eastern regions including North, Central and South Tongu District Assemblies, Asuogyaman, Shai Osudoku and Ada. The flooding submerged the communities and displaced close to 15,000 people in the Volta, Eastern, and Greater Accra Regions.
Subsequently, on Thursday, October 19, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and the First Sky Group cut sod to begin a housing project to relocate about 12,000 North Tongu constituents affected by the flood. On February 10, Mr Ablakwa and the First Sky Group inaugurated the second phase of the housing project meant for constituents.
Meanwhile, Mr Ablakwa in his speech called on the government interministerial committee on flood and the Volta River Authority to honour the invitations of chiefs and the victims for engagement on how to restore them to normalcy.
The North Tongu MP added that “I look forward to the parliamentary inquiry because we have never seen anything on this scale. VRA has been discharging since 1968. The last one was in 2010. We never saw this level of devastation. Something went amiss this time and I’m not going to prejudice the parliamentary inquiry but I look forward to it and I hope my colleagues in the House will expedite action.”