Lack of an efficient organization to manage the numerous economic activities on the Volta Lake accounts for the frequent accidents, Brigadier Joseph Odei, National Coordinator of National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) said at Ho on Friday.
Addressing the media on his way to the Afram Plains through Tapa Abotoase to visit victims of the April 8 boat disaster, Brigadier Odei said management of the Volta River Authority (VRA) had over the years, failed to exploit the several economic potentials of the Lake and only focused on power generation.
He noted that as a result, economic potentials such as transport, research, fishing, navigation and irrigation had been left untapped. Brigadier Odei therefore, called on Government to establish an independent authority to develop, supervise and utilize to the fullest these potentials including water transport on the Lake. He said it was only when such an institution was established that activities on the Lake could be regularized and monitored for the country to achieve the purpose for which it was constructed. Brigadier Odei said when a new institution was given that responsibility it could standardize boat transport with the provision of preventive measures such as navigational equipment to forestall frequent accidents on the Lake.
"This authority will then be able to establish facts on numbers of passengers on board a particular boat and people in charge of the boats," Brigadier Odei added.
He said it was unfortunate that some people were politicising the accident and blaming it on the inefficiencies of NADMO. Brigadier Odei said, "This is very unfortunate but NADMO lacks the legislative power to manage the Lake and as public organization, we have our own limitations. Our emergency response is weak due to the constraint of logistics but we never run a policy on tribal or political basis."
He noted that NADMO had played its mitigating role efficiently in its pre-disaster and post-disaster operations, adding, "It is unfortunate the institution that undertook the evacuation, did not contact NADMO and also did not make provisions for any emergency." Mr Kenwuud Nuworsu, Volta Regional Coordinator of NADMO noted that though NADMO had no speedboat and other emergency logistics it responded promptly with some relief items worth 50 million cedis. However, he said the organization had the problem of assessing the real victims and identifying those who died because it was a taboo in the community for the deceased to be counted.
Mr Nuworsu said this had given some people the chance to announce varying figures of those who died and was optimistic that with the establishment of an independent body, the truth would be established.