Death Toll Reaches 31
2007-09-20 22:11:34This article has been read 743 times.The death toll from the floods that recently hit the Upper East Region keeps escalating, with the figure soaring to 31 from an initial eight.
A total of 19,621 houses collapsed under the ravages of the floods, with 90,703 people from all the eight districts being rendered homeless.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Alhassan Samari, gave out the figures in Bolgatanga , when he briefed members of a team, led by the Interior Minister, Mr Kwamena Bartels, which was in the region to evaluate the disaster situation.
The assessment team, on board two helicopters, conducted both aerial and land surveys to have firsthand information on the situation.
Also accompanying the team were officials from the UN system, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), religious bodies, the private sector and the media.
The Bawku municipality recorded the highest number of seven deaths, while the Bongo District saw the death of one person.
The Kassena-Nankana District recorded the highest figure of displaced persons of 43,205, with the Bongo having the least figure of 2,505.
Some of the displaced persons are currently being sheltered in schools and community centres, while others are staying with friends and relatives.
Briefing the team, Mr Samari said torrential rains in the region from August 24 to August 30, this year, coupled with the opening of the spillway of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso into the White and Black Volta, and to a lesser extent human and economic activities, caused the flooding.
He said the situation had affected agriculture and food security in the region, the road network, shelter, health, water supply and the environment.
In the area of agriculture, Mr Samari said 12,220.72 hectares of farmland, with an estimated production figure of 13,880.55 metric tonnes of various crops, including rice, maize, groundnuts, millet, guinea corn, sweet potato and cowpea, had been submerged in the flood waters.
He added that 10,724 livestock, including goats, sheep, cattle, poultry and donkeys were either lost or washed away in the disaster.
He told the delegation that 39 dams, including 13 in the Talensi-Nabdam District, had been damaged as a result of the floods.
The regional minister said 29 highways, with a total distance of 427.4 kilometres, and 54 feeder roads were either washed away or partly damaged, adding that “the Garu-Tempane District is virtually cut off from the rest of the region”.
Mr Samari said the health of the people had also been adversely affected, especially the displaced persons at Sandema and Wiaga.
“Women and children are particularly vulnerable, in view of the fact that they are exposed to the elements. The situation can give rise to pneumonia, diarrhoea, typhoid, among others,” he said adding though that no report on those diseases had been received.
Mr Samari appealed for support for dry season irrigated crop production, which commences from next month to May 2008.
“Irrigation farmers will urgently need support in terms of fertiliser and seed for the their farming activities,” he pointed out.