By Samuel Ayammah
Residents along the White Volta in the Upper East Region have started evacuating from the banks of the river ahead of the spillage of the Bagre and Kompienga Dams in Burkina Faso. The National Disaster Management Organization, NADMO Officials in the region have asked residents along the White Volta not to get close to the river in an attempt to either cross or harvest their crops to avoid loss of lives.
According to residents, over the years, NADMO Officials often brought relief items, such as mattresses, but items needed mostly are food supplies. They have therefore appealed to benevolent organizations to come to their aid after the spillage.
According to Officials, NGOs, often the Ghana Red Cross, and Catholic Relief Services have over the years been supportive. They have been supporting the NADMO to provide affected persons with their needs, but according to NADMO Officials more would be required.
Currently, the water level in the Bagre and Kompienga Dams as of 26th August, 2021 is 234.22 meters, less than 1meter for the spillage. The spillage of both dams is expected to begin from 27th to 30TH August, 2021.
Communities that are likely to be affected in the Upper East Region by the spillage of the dams are; Tagala, Bugula, Guzongo, Salpiga, Galaka, Goo-Sakpare, Kobore, Yarigu, Timon-Guure, Timon-Bugure, Timon-Natinga, Timon-Goriga, Tanga-Kpalsako, Boya-kpalsako, Kopella, Agaago, Gore, Apotdabogo, Dangunga, Zongoiri all in the Bawku West District. Bansi, Bazua, Yarigunga, Yalugu, Gumyoko, Gumisi, Sakpare Tambiugu, Nafkoliga all in the Binduri District. Mognori, Gentiga Number 1 and Gentiga Number 2, Gumkotari, Tampisi-Zua Number 1 and 2 all in the Bawku Municipality. Kugri-Zua, kwaarug, kpalsaako and Samurai all in the Garu District. Other Districts that are normally affected by the spillage of the dams are Nabdam and Talensi, in the Upper East Region.
A host of farmlands have been submerged, as a result of torrential rains. Some of the roads linking market centers and district capitals have been washed away. Some communities in the region are currently cut-off from their neighboring communities.
Farmers in communities which are likely to be affected say their crops are not matured for harvesting, hence the need for government to support them with subsidized fertilizer and seeds to enable them to venture into dry season farming.
Speaking with GBC News, Yakubu Mahama, a farmer at Sambolongo, a community in the Bawku West District, said that he and his colleague farmers are yet to adhere to the directive by government not to farm closer to the White Volta.
Another resident of Sambolongo, Sumaila Yakubu said they anticipate food shortage, hence the need for government to come to their aid.
The Divisional Chief of Sapeliga, in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region, Naba Nbangiba Atule Ayagiba said sensitization began quite early to inform the people of the havoc caused by the spillage of the dams.
‘’In the past two week they have been told, not to get closer to the White Volta or any stream that may harvest the flood waters’’.
As NADMO officials also embarked on sensitization, on the need for residents along the white Volta to move to higher grounds before the spillage starts, the bigger question had been, what sort of measures are being put in place to find a lasting solution to the floods that normally occur as a result of the spillage?
The Officials have indicated that the only solution to the flooding would be the construction of the Pwalugu multipurpose Dam, however, reports indicate that the construction of the dam is yet to commence.