Bolgatanga, Ghana – As the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso spills excess water into the White Volta River, communities along its course are taking proactive measures to prevent loss of lives and minimize property damage in this year's floods.
“We have been talking to the chiefs and opinion leaders to talk to their subjects and we have been doing community visits and because this is an annual thing, the people through our sensitisation have already identified safe places such as Churches, Schools and neighbours at high places that they can go if their houses get flooded.”
“We have told the chiefs not to let their subjects get closer to the banks of the river because the banks are now saturated and can cave in, and we have also placed our zonal coordinators at major crossing points to prevent people from attempting to use unapproved crosses, but they should use the bridges,” he said.
The Volta River Authority (VRA) issued a statement on September 5, 2023, indicating that the Bagre Dam had recorded high inflows, necessitating water spillage from the dam.
The VRA advised residents, particularly those living along the White Volta River, to take precautionary measures to avoid being adversely affected by the floods.
Mr. Asamane noted that the water level in the White Volta River had been steadily rising in recent days, signifying the commencement of the Bagre Dam spillage from Burkina Faso: “Since the day before yesterday, we have been experiencing volumes of water coming in, and at the various bridges, the water level has risen.”
In addition to NADMO's efforts to educate communities on safety measures, they have been collaborating with the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to activate response measures for potential disasters caused by floods.
The region has also reactivated its emergency centre to ensure a coordinated response to flood disasters. This collaborative approach aims to strengthen NADMO's coordination with various stakeholders in the disaster management chain.
Mr. Asamane mentioned that NADMO, through the government, is mobilizing relief items for affected individuals. However, the distribution of these items will depend on the data gathered about the affected population: “The items cannot be given now because we need to build a database, the number of farmers, crops, people that are affected and categorizing them to determine how the relief items would be given to the affected people appropriately.”
“We are also soliciting for support, so individuals, charitable societies like the churches, NGOs among others can donate to help support our affected farmers,” he added.
Previously, in late August 2023, SONABEL, the Power Utility of Burkina Faso, opened one valve of the Bagre Dam to manage inflows, resulting in flooding of farmlands in Bawku West, Binduri, Talensi Districts, and other areas along the White Volta River.
Fortunately, there were no reported casualties, but farmers in the region had begun harvesting their crops prematurely following the announcement of the dam's spillage.
Reporting by Anthony Adongo Apubeo. Editing by by Mariam Aminu.