By: Ewurabena Paha
News Commentary On The Need To Fix Keta Sea Defence Once And For All
The Keta sea erosion has been in the news for many years. Journalist Kwesi Pratt has been emphatic that the problem has persisted for more than five decades. This brings to mind the literature book written by Ace writer Kwesi Brew entitled the sea eats our land which was written decades ago. Since last week, news from the Volta region, particularly Keta and its surrounding areas have not been good. This is because lives and livelihoods have been lost due to erosion by the sea. Reports say some three thousand indigenes have been left homeless as a result of the devastating effect of the erosion. The Keta Sea Defense Project has over the years been given some sort of attention.
Successive governments have been doing what they believe is appropriate to solve the problem. In 1999, a 92 million Dollar Exim bank loan was procured by the Rawlings regime for the construction of the sea defense wall. Throughout the John Kuffour administration, the project did not materialize with the procured funds due to what critics believe was embezzled. However the then government secured another loan to construct the project. Former President Mahama in 2018 directed the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to extend the Keta Sea Defence Project to cover more communities to protect the area from the menace of tidal waves. This clearly shows that successive governments did their bit to ensure the people of Keta are not wiped off. The question then is; why is the problem recurring despite efforts put in to address it. Is it that the walls constructed earlier were not properly done?
According to the Director of the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana, Professor. Kwasi Appeaning Addo, what is needed is a holistic approach to solving the perennial destruction caused by tidal waves in the Volta Region. As a researcher on Coastal Erosion for over a decade, Professor Appeaning Addo, said a Sea Defense Wall will not solve the problem, but will only transfer it to another area. The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, on November 9, 2021 in Parliament promised that the Finance Ministry will allocate funds for the construction of Phase Two of the Keta Sea Defense Wall. According to Mr. Asenso-Boakye, the completion of works under the second phase of the project, is expected to cover a minimum coastal stretch of 8 kilometers, adding that the Ministry had finalised the evaluation of the relevant Proposals for construction to begin. The daring question now is; WHEN? The people of the Volta Region and particularly Keta and other areas affected by this devastating storm surge are Ghanaians and reserve the right to be protected at all cost.
What is happening in Keta is not a problem for only the people of the area but Ghana as a whole. Political parties have over the years toured these areas and canvassed for votes from these people who are now left at the mercy of a natural disaster. It is only fair that the government as a matter of urgency turned its attention to Keta and constructed the walls immediately before a national disaster strikes there. Now that the situation has been politicized, it must then be tackled as such because the people will be waiting and will decide with their thumbs in 2024 if they are neglected. The Keta sea erosion can be prevented and the sea stopped from causing more havoc. The people need help and they need it now. Like the adage goes, a stitch in time saves nine!