Caritas Ghana, the humanitarian agency of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has extended support to victims of the recent flood in the Upper East and North East Regions by donating relief items to the Catholic diocese of Navrongo Bolgatanga.
The Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Ghana, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo on Monday, September 28, 2020, during a presentation ceremony in Bolgatanga joined the Most Rev. Alfred Agyenta, Catholic Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese to appeal for more humanitarian assistance for the victims of the recent floods.
The floods were precipitated by incessant heavy rains and the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, North of the Upper East Region displaced many people in the diocese which covers the Upper East and North East Regions of Ghana.
Since 1999, eight years after the construction of the Bagre multipurpose Hydro Dam on the White Volta sub-basin in Burkina Faso, several communities in Ghana to the downstream of the White Volta River have experienced series of flood disasters.
These disasters have occurred partly because, the Burkinabe power company, Société Nationale Burkinabe d’Electricité (SONABEL) continues to spill excess water from the Bagre Dam in order to maintain the Dam’s 235 1meters water holding capacity.
From the downstream side, it appears Ghana’s preparedness is still trailing as risk reduction strategies are daunting. Sadly, for the past 19 years, the story on the devastating effects of the Bagre water spillage has remained unchanged in the country.
The spillage continues to cause massive floods in communities in Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions of Ghana and this has led to devastating impact such as loss of human lives and livelihoods among the vulnerable poor.
Bishop Agyenta speaking at a very brief ceremony to receive a donation from Caritas Ghana, lamented about the seriousness of the humanitarian situation, announcing that so far eight of his rural parishes were the most hit by the disaster as most of the people had been displaced while others have lost their means of livelihoods and are taking temporary shelter in the Parishes and Schools.
He noted that the full humanitarian situation was yet to fully emerge since there are potential health implications from polluted water sources from the floods and expected poor harvest that cannot sustain families into the next farming season.
He, however appealed for more help from benevolent organizations to ameliorate the conditions of those displaced.
The Bishop invited his Diocesan Director responsible for Governance and Justice, Mr. Joseph Bangu to provide a brief situational report which according to him, statistics so far collated on the situation of victims in the eight parishes covering seven political administrative Districts in the Upper East and North East Regions.
According to him, the statistics covered 2,653 Households and 19,013 individuals comprising 6,197 Adults, 5,962 Children, 1,586 Women and Others including 7 deaths, adding that “Eleven thousand, four hundred and eighty-seven (11,487) Acres of farm lands with crops have been destroyed.”
Due to the situation, the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference Humanitarian Agency, Caritas Ghana, responded positively by donating various food items and shelter materials comprising mats, clothing and blankets estimated at GHc70,000.
In addition, a cheque for GHc10,000 was included to procure more food items locally to supplement the deliveries from Accra by Caritas Ghana.
Mr. Zan Akologo in a remark at the presentation ceremony in Bolgatanga thanked the Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga for the passion and sense of mission with which his Diocese handled the humanitarian situation from their own efforts.
He added to the appeal of the Bishop to Corporate Bodies to work with Faith-Based Organizations like Caritas Ghana and others who have outreach at community levels to respond to the victims directly.
Mr. Zan Akologo indicated that Caritas Ghana will always adhere to the admonition of Pope Francis never to feel overwhelmed by any humanitarian situation but instead respond to it in fraternal solidarity, no matter how small the resources available.
Referring briefly to the Covid-19 and other environmental calamities, Mr. Zan Akologo paraphrased a quote from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si (Care for Our Common Home) that the "Cry of the Earth is also the Cry of the Poor" indicating that the poor, weak and vulnerable are always disproportionately affected in these situations.