The Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, has dismissed assertions that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia are unconcerned about the tidal waves that affected Keta and its environs on Saturday, November 6, destroying properties and rendering over 700 people homeless in the area.

He described such claims as unfortunate because several steps have been taken by the government through the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to assist and support the people.

Dr Letsa said on the Key Points on TV3/3FM Saturday November 13 that the RCC moved in to assess the level of damage done by the tidal waves.

“It is not about being populist and going there to show off. What is important is that when the issue happened on Sunday dawn we modelized a team at the three assemblies – Ketu South, Keta and Anloga, to assess the situation and send me a report in Ho.

“That was done promptly. All the MMDCEs were asked to to make a local effort to try and address some of the concerns that is within their power at the local, we have zonal coordinators of NADMO , District coordinator of NADMO and the regional coordinator was also there to assess what was happening.

“When I had my report, I dashed to Accra to do mobilization in Accra. I was in Parliament House , I went to various state institutions , embassies and tried to mobilise resources for the people,” he said.

It is recalled that the Member of Parliament for the Ketu South constituency, Dzifa Abla Gomahsie criticised the governemnt for dpoing, in her view, little to assit the people.

In calling for a state of emmeregcny to be declared in the area, she said the president must at all cost fix the perennial problem.

“The state of emergency should have been declared yesterday [ Sunday]” she told journalists on Monday November 8 on the heels of the tidal waves that affected Keta and its environs on Saturday, November 6, that has destroyed properties and rendered about 700 people homeless in the area.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye has 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, “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

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

The scope of works under the second phrase 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.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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