Ghana: Floods Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation no. MDRGH014

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Since April 2017, Ghana has experienced a sharp alteration in its weather that has recently resulted in widespread flooding currently reported in over five regions of which four are heavily affected. The floods have caused devastating impact to people’s health, safety and destruction to properties and livelihood. The reported flooding across the country is likely to cause devastation that communities and government is unable to cope and or even recover from it as farmers are losing their investments in production, communities are helplessly being displaced and infrastructure such as roads and buildings are collapsing. According to the Ghana Meteorological Agency the country will experience torrential rains’ year at least until September 2017.

On 10 July 2017, the following regions were declared flood emergencies and/or under threat of floods with potential to cause devastation. The below information is sourced from representatives from local authorities, media outlets and representatives from Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) in the affected region. There is an urgent need to conduct an in-depth assessment to have a better overview of the situation.

Greater Accra

It is reported that many homes in low lying areas in Weija and Tetegu in the Ga South Municipality have been inundated with water, as a result of the spillage of the Weija dam by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL). Affected residents, whose homes are in the Weija Dam catchment area, continue to cope with the invading waters. During a visit to the affected areas on 7 July by GRCS and IFRC WASH delegate, it was realized that some places were virtually inaccessible, while some occupants were busy scooping water from their rooms. The Weija dam gets its inflow of water from the Densu River in the Eastern Region, therefore the volume of water in the dam depends heavily on the rains in the region. The region has been experiencing heavy rains since April bringing the dame to 99 per cent of its maximum capacity. (According to the authorities, the safe operational level of the dam is 47 feet and on 8 July 2017, the level of the dam was 46.7 feet). Authorities said that given the low extraction capacity of the dam (at 30 per cent of the dam capacity) the status vs anticipated inflow could compel the authorities to release more water hence exposing downstream communities to floods of devastating magnitude. The communities at risk are: Lower Weija, Oblogo, Tetego, Panbros Industries, Sapema, Bojo beach, Adakope, and Lower McCarthy with estimated population of 500,000 people at immediate risk. In a worst-case scenario where the dam spillage has to be at highest scale, over 2 million people could be affected covering an estimated 8 square kilometres area.

Central Region

At least 400 people have said to have been rendered homeless in Twifo Praso and its environs in the Central Region due to floods in the area. The affected areas are New Tufoe, Old Praso, Kookoase, Twansukoda, Arab Area and Bankyease. It is reported that some affected families are stranded on islands and in need of canoes to rescue them, several hectares of farmlands have also been destroyed.

Western Region

In July 2017, flood waters from River Tano and other tributaries in the Western, displaced over 1,000 residents of Samreboi, Wassa Dunkwa, Aboi Nkwanta Samreboi communities within the Wassa Amenfi West District. These residents are predominantly farmers, but as the flood waters have taken over pathways to their farms, they have had to abandon their farms for days.While some residents are temporarily seeking shelter in churches and schools, others are seeking refuge with relatives on higher grounds.

Eastern Region

In Eastern Region, floods are said to affect Ahiatroga community resulting in collapse of 26 houses, displacing close to 100 peasant farmers. Some of the displaced residents mostly women and children are currently putting up in a church building and a classroom. Residents displaced by flood have been compelled to turn maize storage facility as temporary accommodation.