Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has asked persons living along the coast as well as other Ghanaians to stop the sand-winning activity which has contributed to the tidal waves havoc.
The Member of Parliament for Effutu was speaking on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, November 9 in connection with the tidal waves that affected Keta and its environs on Saturday, November 6 destroying properties and displacing 1000s.
“Former President Rawlings who, by the grace of God, spent twenty years on the seat and was also from Volta region, had good reason to lament some activities including sand-winning at the time that was making the situation worse. I have just read on the internet and recently, the EPA boss, when this situation happened, also had the course to lament that one of the factors making this situation worse is the unfortunate sand winning business.”
The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye has also said that while government makes all the necessary efforts to avert tidal waves from happening, coastal residents should also avoid practices that expose them to vagaries of the rising sea levels.
According to him, there have been reported cases of sand winning, uprooting of mangrove along the coastal stretch.
If these continue, he said, the investments by government cannot yield the needed protection.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Monday, November 8, in connection with the tidal waves he said that “I must reiterate that Government acknowledges the urgent need to permanently address the devastating effects of tidal waves in the affected towns of Agavedzi, Salakope, and Amutsinu communities in the Ketu South Constituency.
“These communities are on the same coastal stretch as Blekusu, also in the Ketu South Constituency. This coastal stretch is characterized by narrow beaches and the effects of tidal waves along the coastal stretch can be very devastating, and consequently result in beach erosion, loss of land, property and sometimes extensive flooding in the event of wave overtopping.
“The erosion of the beaches also impacts negatively on fishing, which is the main source of livelihood of the communities along this coastal stretch.
“As part of measures to curb these devastating incidences in these towns, in July 2015, the Ministry of Works and Housing engaged Messrs Amandi Holding Limited to design and construct coastal protection works along this stretch, starting from Blekusu and working towards Agavedzi, Salakope, and Amutsinu under the Blekusu Coastal Protection Project.
“The project, which protects 4300 metres (i.e., 4.3 kilometres) of the coastal stretch, had the first phase completed in July 2019, and has since functioned effectively, protecting lives, livelihoods and properties while reviving fishing activities.”
He added “The Ministry of Works and Housing (Government) notes the sense of urgency for undertaking the second phase of the project to protect Adina, Agavedzi, Salakope, and Amutsinu communities and others to the east of Blekusu. To this end, the Ministry is commenced urgent steps to implement the second phase of the project.
“The Ministry has finalized the Evaluation of the relevant proposal to start the works under the second phase of the project.
“It is important to note that in April 2021, a technical team from the Hydrological Services Department of the Ministry, upon my directive, travelled to the affected communities to engage the Municipal Chief Executive of Ketu South Municipal Assembly and some community leaders on the matter of the implementation of the second phase of the project. I have also had the opportunity to visit these communities, together with the technical team from the Ministry and the Hydrological Services Department, in June this year, to have a first-hand understanding of the situation.
It is envisaged that the completion of the works envisaged under the second phase of the project will cover a minimum coastal stretch of 8,000 metres (8 kilometres) and this will surely ensure the total protection of the people of Agavedzi, Salakope, and Amutsinu communities and other affected communities within the Constituency that continue to bear the brunt of this occasional disasters.
The scope of works under the second phase of Blekusu Coastal Protection Project (Phase 2) entails the construction of 37 armour rock groynes, with land reclamation, to protect eight (8) kilometres of coastal stretch.
“The Ministry is currently engaging the Ministry of Finance to raise the needed funding for the implementation of the second phase. It is important to note that value addition is critical in ensuring that a platform for recouping the capital investment is provided. Thus, in addition to protecting lives and properties, the works under the Blekusu Coastal Protection Project (Phase 2) will protect the beaches and its environs against encroachment by the sea, arrest the current environmental deterioration, mitigate the social and economic consequences of beach erosion, and strengthen the economic and production base of the area through enhanced fishing activities.”