The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) has blamed residents living along the Akosombo Dam for failing to adhere to repeated warnings to evacuate the area in the event of a spillage.
Some individuals and civil society organizations have heavily criticized NADMO officials for refusing to promptly offer accurate information to the residents before the dam spillage.
In an interview on Citi TV/Citi FM‘s The Big Issue, the Director of Communications at NADMO, George Ayisi, justified that the victims were hit hard by the Akosombo Dam spillage because they took the warnings for granted.
He said the residents were caught unawares after earlier warnings of a possible spillage in 2022 did not occur, insisting that they conscientiously sensitized the residents.
Mr. Ayisi emphasized that the simulation exercises that were carried out by NADMO in May 2023 were to sensitize residents to avert the disaster they are currently facing.
“We set up a team comprised of NADMO and the Volta River Authority in March 2023. The technical engagement between NADMO and VRA, produced an emergency preparedness plan. Simulation is a part of the emergency preparedness plan. In May, we had the simulation exercise, where we engaged all the people in all the 9 districts. We even extended it to Kpando, so that they were on standby. In case there’s a spillover, maybe Kpando will have the effect.”
He further clarified, “The assemblies, all major stakeholders in the communities were there, we engaged them. We demonstrated what ought to be done, we extensively involved them. We were doing concurrent simulation exercises. And so I’m surprised people say nobody was notified. The people were aware, but they didn’t believe the spillage was going to be done, because in 2022, VRA warned of a spillage, the people were informed, but it didn’t happen. So they thought last year we came and told them but nothing happened. Yes, in 2010 there was a spillage, but it didn’t inundate us in any way.”
Furthermore, he indicated that the warnings have saved the region from recording any deaths, following the spillage.
“I believe it is part of that exercise that we have not recorded any fatality as of now,” he stated.
Mr. Ayisi stressed that they had to force some affected victims to move out after the spillage.
“When inundation started, some of them didn’t want to move out because they were protecting their properties, so we had to force them to move out,” he asserted.
He maintained that they have provided safe havens for the affected victims.