Government to adopt plan to reconstruct flood affected areas
Government to adopt plan to reconstruct flood affected areas Website
Government is finalising a multi-sectoral strategic plan that would focus on water resources, social infrastructure, agriculture, health and environment to help reconstruct the four regions affected by the flood. Mr. Kwamena Bartels, Minister of the Interior, said this in Accra on Monday at a Briefing Session for Diplomatic Corps on the flood situation in Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Western regions. He noted that the success of the plan would, however, depend on support from the international community and donor agencies. "We are faced with a disaster and what is even worrying is the fact that successful recovery from this situation is definitely going to be a difficult task. "The victims want action now and I hope you will bring this to the attention of your governments and the leadership of your organisations for them to support us as a matter of urgency." Giving a statistical update on the disaster, Mr Bartels said 56 deaths had been recorded so far. He said 31 occurred in Upper East, 15 in the Northern Region, 10 in Upper East, but no death was recorded in the Western Region. According to him 341,360 persons were displaced - 100,703 in the Upper East,228,812 in Northern Region, 3,033 in the Upper West and 8,812 in the Western region. Over 34,878 houses, the Minister said, had been destroyed. Upper East Region recorded 15,069; Northern Region had 18,167; Upper West recorded 1,100 while 582 houses were destroyed in the Western Region. He said a total of 131 trunk and feeder roads with a total length of 1,510 kilometres had been damaged whereas 70 bridges and culverts were also affected. Some 70,526 hectares with the production potential of 144,430 metric tonnes were also affected. Mr Bartels noted that Government had so far approved 610,000 Ghana cedis (6.1 billion cedis) for the acquisition of additional emergency relief items to supplement the National Disaster Management Organisation's (NADMO) Strategic Reserve. He stated that Government in collaboration with the UN system has instituted various monitoring mechanisms to evaluate the effectiveness of the disaster management strategy, adding that government with the assistance of the National Union of Ghana Students would also conduct an assessment to ascertain effectiveness of the relief assistance. Mr Bartels commended the Japanese, Spanish, British, Italian, Korean, German, American, Australian, Chinese, Egyptian, French governments and the UN systems and other donor agencies for supporting the victims. Dr Charles Yaw Brempong-Yeboah, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation and NEPAD, said although natural disasters were unavoidable, the nature and response given to them were crucial to reduce and prevent future occurrence. He said disasters undermined development investments in the short term and remained a major impediment to sustainable development and poverty reduction. "We must now focus on the victims, especially those living and how to address their immediate needs as well as provide them with support for the long term." Dr Brempong-Yeboah noted that Government would build resilience on disasters through people centred early warning systems, education and other proactive programmes. Mrs Mary Chinery Hesse, Chief Adviser to the President and Chairperson for the Inter-Ministerial Task Force, called for a paradigm shift in the approach of development, especially in the regions in the north in order to forestall future occurrences. She said the government should also come out with a well-structured recovery programme that would provide alternative livelihood for the victims in order to sustain their lives. Mrs Chinery-Hesse said there was also the need to empower the people at the district level through the development of district development plans to address the human settlement and social infrastructure needs peculiar to them. Mr Daouda Toure, UN Resident Coordinator, urged government to fashion out long-term development prospects, not only for the northern part but the country as a whole. He said the UN had mobilised 2.5 million dollars to assist in its humanitarian and other relief response programmes. He commended Government for providing a forum that would enable the diplomatic corps to engage in debates that would help solve the crisis.