The Volta River Authority (VRA) has maintained that the right decisions and measures were taken by the organisation before and after the dam spillage to prevent a more disastrous situation.
In a news report by asaaseradio.com, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the VRA, Emmanuel Antwi Darkwa, stated that the absence of fatalities in the recent spillage indicates that corrective actions were taken by its management before and after the incident.
Antwi Darkwa stressed that if the response mechanism had not been highly effective, the situation could have escalated significantly.
“We empathise with those who have been affected by this spillage. Those affected by this spillage are part of us; we have so many employees who come from these areas. Some of our plant managers come from Mepe, so when something happens to the people of Mepe it affects us. I’ve had the opportunity to go to the safe havens and really to move from your house and be relocated, however short it is, it is so traumatic.
“So we can understand the public outcry, how people feel but there is always a balance for a dam manager; there’s always something for you to juggle between maintaining the integrity of the dam and the consequences of what you do when you protect a dam. We took all the good engineering decisions to ensure that balance continues to stay,” he said.
Philip Kamara Faley, a senior technical researcher at Anglo West Africa and the AU Commission, Governance and Accountability Project, commended the VRA for the handling of the Akosombo Dam spillage.
He mentioned that if VRA hadn’t managed the spillage properly, the situation could have been much worse.
“What happened with the VRA with regards to the spillage can technically be termed as a controlled dam spillage and this has been well-managed as compared to what has happened in some more structured societies like the US, China and Italy. So, VRA has been able to minimise the situation. The simulation exercise helped to minimise the negative effect of the spillage.”
“All of these mechanisms helped very roughly to be able to manage the damage as compared to other countries…I think VRA needs a tap on the back for trying to mitigate the level of destruction that happened,” he added.
However, Faley said there is more to be done by the VRA so that such a catastrophe does not occur again.
The VRA initiated the spillage at the Akosombo and Kpong dams in the Eastern Region on September 15, 2023, due to rising water levels from significant rainfall.
Approximately 39,000 individuals across nine districts have been displaced after the excess water release from the Akosombo and Kpong dams, as per the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO).
These districts encompass nearly all communities along the lower Volta Basin, resulting in widespread power outages in the affected areas, including Central Tongu, North Tongu, South Tongu, Ada West, Ada East, Keta, Anlo, Shai Osudoku, and Asuogyaman.
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