Weija Floods: Hundreds Displaced, Low Spirited

Hundreds of houses around the Weija Dam have been flooded, leaving many residents displaced and in low spirits.

The flooding has also led to the destruction of items running into millions of Ghana cedis.

They include vehicles, home appliances, uncompleted structures, documents and other personal effects.

The flooding follows the opening of some spill gates of the dam by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

This latest spillage, which was unannounced, was to spill excess water to save the dam from collapse due to the recent rains.

The areas affected include Oblogo, Tetegu, New Weija, SCC, Tatop, Sampa Valley, parts of Top Town and American Farm at Ngleshie Amanfro.

‘Tourist attraction’

Most of the affected places, including the Weija Dam site, have virtually become tourist attractions, as people troop there to catch glimpses of the situation after hearing of the flooding.

Others go to the dam site to see the volumes of water that are being spilled.

Yesterday when the Daily Graphic visited some of the affected areas, it observed that houses and vehicles were submerged in flood waters.

Residents, especially those affected and their relatives, friends and neighbours, could be seen gathered in groups discussing the issue.

Other residents could be seen wading through the flood to salvage any of their belongings they could lay hands on.

Some fishermen took advantage of the situation to earn some money by charging residents GH¢10 for the use of their canoe to help retrieve some belongings.

One victim at the Pharmatrust Hostel area, who did not want his name mentioned, noted that his entire house had been flooded and showed a video of the situation to this reporter.

He said he was at work last Monday afternoon when his wife called to tell him that spilled water from the dam was getting closer to their home.

He said because his house had never been flooded anytime the GWCL opened the spill gates, he thought it would not enter his place, only to experience the flooding this morning.

Asked where he was relocating to as he carted his belongings with the assistance of some young men who also rescued his three dogs from the house, he said: “I have another house and that is where we are going to.”

Another victim, Anthony Acquah, who said he had lived in the area for about five years now, said he had never seen such flooding in his area before, adding that the situation could have been managed with better communication.

On seeing the danger, he said, he had to relocate his wife and children to a safe haven and then take his vital documents.

Another victim, Jacob Quaye, said he had lived in the Weija area for five years and had never experienced flooding of such magnitude.

Unannounced spillage

Many of the victims blamed the GWCL authorities for not handling the situation well, as there was no prior notice of this particular spillage.

When contacted, the Unit Committee Member for Weija, Elder Amponsah Ampaw, said having lived at Weija for over 20 years, he had never seen anything like that before.

He blamed the situation on the failure of the new manager at the Weija Water Works to heed the advice of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to start opening the gates in bits to allow the free flow of water from the Eastern Region.

He said people had lost many items through the flood, as they could not enter their homes to pick them before the flooding took over.

For now, Elder Ampaw said, he was trying to get a place for himself and his family, after which he would take the matter up at the assembly.

When contacted, the Weija/Gbawe Municipal Director of NADMO, Emmanuel Adu Boahen, said the organisation had, between last Monday and yesterday, been able to rescue more than 25 people who got trapped in their homes.

He said the municipal and the regional offices of the organisation had gone round to assess the situation and it was dire.

“Together with support from the Regional NADMO, we are at the estuary to open it to pave the way for the water to flow. The situation is terrible and we are working on it,” he said.

GWCL

Meanwhile, the GWCL said because of the severity of the situation at the dam, it had opened four spill gates for water to flow and save the integrity of the dam.

A statement signed by the Head of Public Relations and Communications of the GWCL, Stanley Martey, said: “The Weija Dam is currently at the level of 49.5 feet, as against the maximum operating level of 48 feet.

“Spillage normally begins when the level gets to 46.5 feet. As a result, four spill gates have been opened to safeguard the integrity of the dam, save the dam from collapse and save lives and properties.”

Mr Martey also said while there was no prior warning about that particular spillage, the GWCL had, since last April, been cautioning residents about a possible spillage due to the water level.

The public, it said, could call or Whatsapp the GWCL on 0555123393, 0555155524, 0207385088, 0207385089 or 0207385090.

The toll-free line is 0800 40 000 for Vodafone cell and land lines only and 0302 218240 for all other networks.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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