The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, says the government remains committed to making the country disaster-resilient in the face of climate change and worsening weather conditions.
He said the government had, as a result, developed a practical policy document which enjoined various sectors to take actions to mitigate and address climate problems in a national context.
The impact of climate change has no continental boundaries, and we have had our fair share of extreme weather events resulting in loss of lives and property, so it is not surprising that Ghana has signed on to various international conventions that provide the framework for tackling issues of climate change,” he said.
Mr Acheampong said this last Friday at Akosombo during the closing ceremony of a simulation exercise conducted by the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to tackle possible situations arising from dam spillage.
The durbar was chaired by the Adantemhene of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Nana Kwame Asamoah Yeboah-Afari, representing the Paramount Chief of Akwamu Traditional Area, Odeneno Kwafo Akoto, and brought together all representatives of the agencies involved and other stakeholders
Dubbed: “Da woho so”, the exercise formed part of the VRA’s emergency preparedness plan for the Akosombo and Kpong dams to enhance the readiness of state agencies to respond to emergencies arising from the release of significant amount of water from the dams.
The simulation exercise occurred last Thursday at Asuogyaman, North Tongu and Ada East districts, three of nine districts most likely to suffer severe damages in the event of a dam spillage.
It involved total evacuation, search and rescue, as well as compulsory and voluntary evacuations.
The all-inclusive exercise included state security agencies, the National Ambulance Service, the Ghana National Fire Service, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the North Dakota National Guard and the US Embassy, which provided technical support and training.
“The collaboration between the VRA, NADMO and all the other agencies is highly commendable and worthy of emulation, so I want you all to take the lessons learnt seriously and update your respective standard operating procedures to make it even more relevant,” Mr Acheampong said.
The Deputy Chief Executive, Engineering and Operations of VRA, Edward Obeng-Kenzo, said the exercise had exposed and identified areas and vulnerabilities that needed attention to improve emergency response.
He affirmed the authority’s commitment to continue to work towards protecting the public while doing more to improve on delivering its mandate.
The Director-General of NADMO, Eric Nana Agyeman Prempeh, said even though the full-scale simulation exercise was very costly in terms of planning and execution, it was worthwhile because the benefits outweighed financial inputs, and that it would help to prevent or mitigate disasters and minimise casualty levels.
“I pledge our support to ministries, departments, agencies, and the private sector to prepare plans to mitigate, respond, and recover during the emergencies to enhance the safety of our citizens,” he added.
Lt Col. Carl Otenbeg, a North Dakota National Guard, representing the US Embassy, described the exercise as a great success, adding that “I am proud to see that the student has taken lessons, made them their own and become peer with the master”.
The Chief Executive of the North Tongu District Assembly, Divine Osborn Fenu, expressed gratitude to the government for showing concern for people living in vulnerable districts.