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06.11.2010 Social News

$5m Help For Flood Victims

By Musah Yahaya Jafaru - Daily Graphic
Vice-President, Mr John Dramani MahamaVice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama
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A $5-million relief package has been provided to thousands of flood victims across the country as an intervention by the government and UN agencies.

The World Bank has pledged about $4 million to the post-flood rehabilitation efforts. The , who announced the package yesterday at a meeting with development partners, said, “In summary, our combined short and long-term response to the flood relief and post-flood rehabilitation needs amount to over GH¢20 million of investment.”

Present at the meeting were the Minister of the Interior, Mr Martin Amidu, the National Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Kofi Portuphy, the World Food Programme (WFP) Representative, Mr Ismail Omer, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) Country Director, Mr Daniel Graymore, the Ambassador of Brazil to Ghana, Mr Luis Fernando Serra, and the Ambassador of Denmark, Mr Stig Barlyng.

The government and the United Nations agencies mobilised the relief items, including food and related items, in reaction to the urgent food needs of the displaced and affected districts in the country.

It is estimated by the UN Office of Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that approximately 170,000 people in Ghana are affected in diverse ways, including loss of lives, homes and property.

The worse-affected districts are Central Gonja, West Gonja and West Mamprusi districts in the Northern Region; parts of the Upper West, Upper East, Brong Ahafo regions and some recently affected areas in the Volta Region, including Dambai in the Krachi East District.

The Vice President said the government had directed the inter- Ministerial task force established to co-ordinate the response to the floods, to submit its comprehensive plan to the Cabinet.

He said any further response to the urgent needs would be announced soon. Over the past weeks, parts of the country have been affected by floods caused variously by heavy rains, the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso and subsequent over-flow of virtually all the tributaries of the White and Black Volta rivers.

The Government and various international development organisations have undertaken detailed assessment missions to the areas worse affected and reviewed the needs for urgent response to the situation.

Some relief items have been delivered to the affected persons and areas by NADMO, the UN and other humanitarian organisations.

Mr Mahama said international partners, under the leadership of the UN, were part of the co-ordinated response.

He urged other bilateral partners, including the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and DfiD, to direct financial assistance through the UN, to support the urgent national duty.

“As we speak, the World Food Programme, OCHA, UNICEF, UNHCR and all other UN Agencies are mobilising the required food, tents and other relief supplies to the worse-affected areas in the North,” he said.

Mr Mahama said the government had also developed a post-relief rehabilitation programme with three cardinal objectives to assist displaced persons with post-flood livelihood initiatives — to design and implement a comprehensive plan for rehabilitation of houses, social and educational infrastructure, including schools, clinics and some roads affected by the flood; and to develop a comprehensive programme for addressing the long-term rehabilitation and development of water management infrastructure to prevent future occurrence of floods.

Consequently, he said, the President had tasked the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to convene a high-level mission of the best of Ghana’s technical expertise to study the perennial flood situation and recommend immediate and long-term actions to address the situation.

Such technical expertise, he said, should be tapped from agencies like the Water Resources Commission, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Volta River Authority (VRA), Irrigation Development Authority, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Lands Commission, Town and Country Planning.

Experts could also be secured from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Engineering Planning Departments of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the University for Development Studies (UDS) and the Navy and the Field Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces to deal with the problem.

Mr Mahama said the organisations were expected to develop, in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Bank, a labour-intensive work programme to address the immediate post-flood rehabilitation requirements, using the WFP’s facility to ensure that persons affected by the floods were gainfully employed in resettlement and rehabilitation works throughout the lean season.

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