Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is warning of a potential humanitarian crisis in Ghana after a “devastating” flood in the southeastern part of the country.
The flooding occurred last month when the Akosombo and Kpong dams were subject to a controlled spillage that “caused a devastating flood” in Lake Volta, CRS said in a press release.
Daniel Mumuni, the relief organization’s country representative in Ghana, said in the release that “thousands of people have already lost their homes, crops, and livestock because of the flooding.”
“There could be disease outbreaks and devastating long-term impacts on hunger as 200,000 hectares remain covered by water,” Mumuni said, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
The press release stated that the “current level of assistance from the government and other partners has been insufficient to meet the overwhelming needs of the affected population.” Those needs include “food, shelter, clothing, and safe drinking water.”
Some displaced residents “have found shelter in ‘safe havens,’ established by the government in schools and churches in the districts of Central Tongu and North Tongu,” CRS said. Mumuni said these havens were offering victims of the floods “some relief.”
“But the longer families are removed from their homes, the longer their children are missing school, and the larger the impact gets on their lives,” he pointed out.
The flooding has disrupted “water and power supplies, health services, and education,” CRS said. Further risks were present from “waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid.”
“Access to the more than 80 flooded communities has been difficult, as many roads have been submerged or destroyed by the floods,” CRS said. “Boats are currently the only means of transportation for rescue and emergency aid.”
Mumuni said response teams “have just concluded a rapid assessment of the situation together with the local diocese and other stakeholders” and that though the spillage has stopped and the floodwaters were gradually receding, “it is still difficult to reach people.”
“The situation is critical,” Mumuni said. “We need more support to reach the most vulnerable people and prevent any outbreak of disease.”