The Bagre and Kampiengo dams in Burkina Faso are expected to be opened today. The initial opening which should have been carried out yesterday did not happen due to an unforeseen hitch.
Major Nicholas Mensah (Rtd), Public Relations Officer of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), who disclosed this to the Times in Accra yesterday, said NADMO officials are still on the ground persuading people residing along the banks of the Black, White, Oti, Sissili and Kubori rivers to relocate before the opening of the dams.
He said although the opening of the dams is not new to those living along the rivers, it appears that some of them are reluctant to relocate because of their farming and cattle rearing activities.
“We cannot force them to leave the area. All we can do is to persuade them to relocate so that after the spillage, they can go back,” Mr. Mensah said.
He hoped that those refusing to quit would not blame the government if they should be adversely affected.
NADMO last week announced an exercise to relocate communities along the Black and White Volta, Sissili, Kubori and the Oti rivers in the three northern regions, ahead of the opening of the dams. This is to avert disaster in the event of spillage of the two dams.
The National Co-ordinator, Kofi Portuphy, who disclosed this to the Times last week, said NADMO personnel are going round the communities particularly those along the banks of the rivers to educate them before the opening of the dams.
Mr. Portuphy said a hazard mapping prepared by NADMO this year indicated that 288,528 people residing in 350 communities along the rivers, are likely to be affected in the event of any serious flooding.
He stated that a team of officials from NADMO and other stakeholders will go to Burkina Faso to meet with the authorities there before the dam is opened.
“Meanwhile, we have asked the Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso to monitor the events for us with respect to developments there. Besides, our men and other stakeholders, including the Volta River Authority, are also on the ground to check the speed and the level of the water before and during the opening of the dam,” he said.
Source: The Ghanaian Times