About 1,700 households across six districts in the Upper East Region that lost their property including crops and animals as well as those, whose houses collapsed during the floods in August and September 2018, have begun receiving relief items from the Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS).
Speaking to GBC’s Radio Ghana in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality where the distribution of the items started, Secretary General of the GRCS, Samuel Kofi Addo, stated that the relief package was basically non-food items that are meant to help meet the basic daily needs of the victims.
He disclosed that each family, averagely made up of six people, was to receive three bars of Key Soap, two mats, two blankets and one plastic bucket with a lid.
The Secretary General further disclosed that the affected families were spread across 82 communities in the six districts including the Kassena-Nankana Municipality, the Binduri, Bongo, Builsa North, the Garu and Tempane districts. He added that the Kologo-Zuo community alone had 170 families benefitting while a nearby community, Kologo-Tor had 140 of affected families receiving the package.
Mr. Addo commended the Swiss Red Cross whose assistance of about 500,000.00 Ghana Cedis made the procurement and the eventual distribution of the relief items possible.
He hinted that other discussions with the International Federation of the Red Cross has also yielded positive results and that very soon, a consignment of additional assorted items shall be arranged for further distribution to the flood victims in the region and other affected families in neighbouring Northern Region.
He also revealed that 28 families in Naga, 90 families in Pindaa and 31 families in Dorba were also earmarked to receive items under the ongoing distribution.
Meanwhile in a joint assessment done with the National Disaster Management Organisation, NADMO, 538 families have been registered to receive relief items in the Builsa North District, 300 families registered in the Bongo District, 95 in Binduri and 338 in the two districts of Garu and Tempane.
According to the Secretary General, future relief packages will encompass a Water Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, component which will investigate contaminated water sources such as wells and undertake decontamination processes.
Additionally, Red Cross Volunteers will move from house to house to sensitise occupants on personal hygiene and sanitation issues so as to get the people to adopt prevention methods.
Mr. Addo also revealed that his outfit was considering a reconstruction component in future relief packages. This he noted, will assist families with some minimum quantities of cement and roofing sheets among others, to help rebuild their damaged houses.
He pledged that Ghana Red Cross will table this proposal before its funding partners and the Government of Ghana and make strong case for its adoption. He advised the public against indiscriminate tree felling and also, urged people to discard old and outmoded traditional beliefs which sometimes caused people to continue living in disaster-prone zones even after warnings from experts.
Upper East Regional Deputy Director of NADMO in-charge of Operations, Paul Wooma, said there were laid down rules of engagement that specified the kinds of assistance that the Ghana Red Cross Society and other like-minded organizations could offer during disasters.
He noted for instance that, while the Red Cross could readily provide assistance in the form of non-food items, other bodies such as the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization as well as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture were the proper and specialised institutions mandated to take charge food relief to the victims.
He revealed that in an assessment report done for his office by the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, there is a food deficit of about 282,700 maxi bags of staple foods that is required to feed victims of this year’s floods in the Upper East area.
Mr. Wooma promised that NADMO will continue to collaborate with organizations like the Red Cross and other humanitarian bodies by providing technical guidance during disasters in order to mitigate the sufferings of people in affected areas.
Story by: Samuel Ayammah – GBC’s Correspondent