Eastern Regional Minister commends VRA, NADMO for its emergency plan


By Patience Gbeze/ Edward Dankwah

Akosombo (E/R), May 13, GNA – Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, the Eastern Regional Minister, has commended the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NADMO) for testing its Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) through a simulation exercise on the Akosombo dam.

The exercise was to test the country’s preparedness to deal with a real situation of an emergency arising from excessive spillage from the dam.

He said the simulation exercise was the first of its kind in the country and the sub-region, for which they needed to be commended.

He made the commendation during the closing ceremony of the VRA/NADMO EPP Exercise dubbed “Da Woho So” 2023, at the Dodi World in Akosombo.

Mr Acheampong said the Akosombo dam had been the pride of the country, as it had contributed to the socio-economic growth of Ghana for a very long time and continued to be the springboard for industrialisation.

He added that irrigation schemes along the Volta River boosted farming, especially in vegetables, maize and rice farming.

“The aquaculture farming up and down stream has contributed immensely to the fish production industry, while the lake transport serves as an alternative to the freight and logistics industry and the supply of portable water,” he added.

He said the impact of climate change had no continental boundaries and, as such, as a nation, “we have had our fair share of extreme weather events resulting in loss of lives and properties.”

The Regional Minister stated that the government of President Akufo-Addo attached immense importance to the issues of climate change, and that, it was not surprising that the country had signed onto various international conventions that provided a framework for tackling issues on climate change.

He said VRA’s development and implementation of its EPP which identified potential emergency conditions and spelled out the responsibilities of stakeholders towards minimising the impact of any excessive spillage and dam break scenario, was a major step in the right direction.

Mr Acheampong encouraged all other agencies, especially in the energy sector to emulate this good example demonstrated by VRA, and partner with NADMO and other response agencies in a similar manner to also test their preparedness plans.

“Let us work together to develop a disaster resilient nation through our collective efforts, for prevention is always better than cure,” he stressed.

Mr Seji Saji, Deputy Director-General, NADMO said it was good to have emergency preparedness and response plan, but it was not enough if the plans were not tested, and that, exercises formed a good basis to review plans to make them better and fit for purpose.

He added that a full-scale simulation exercise such as this was very costly to plan and execute but the benefits derived far outweighed financial inputs, which helped prevent or mitigate disasters and minimises casualty levels.

Mr Saji said: “On the part of NADMO which has the responsibility to coordinate emergency preparedness and response among other duties, we are ready to work closely with other power-producing agencies to prepare appropriate plans for implementation.”

He, therefore, expressed profound gratitude to the United States Embassy in Ghana for its continuous support to NADMO by facilitating technical support through the North Dakota National Guard and providing financial input to ensure a successful exercise.

Mr Edward Obeng-Kenzo, Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Engineering and Operations, VRA said they had learnt a lot from this exercise and that he was excited to share that they had identified several areas where they could improve on their response dam-related floods both in terms of preparedness and mitigation.

He said the exercise had allowed them to practice their emergency response procedures and identified any gaps so they could address them before they became a reality.

Mr Obeng-Kenzo thanked the Disaster Response Team for their hard work and commitment to ensuring that the exercise was a success.

He emphasised their commitment to ensuring a safe and resilient environment for the communities, and pledged to work together to ensure that they were all prepared for any future flood disasters that may arise.



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