Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, the Eastern Regional Minister, has commended the Volta River Authority (VRA), in partnership with the National Disaster Management Authority (NADMO), for testing its Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) through a simulation exercise on the Akosombo Dam.
He said the simulation exercise was the first of its kind in Ghana and the sub-region to test the country's preparedness to deal with a real situation of an emergency arising from excessive spillage from the dam.
Mr Acheampong said this during the closing ceremony of the VRA/NADMO EPP Exercise, dubbed: 'Da Woho So' 2023, at the Dodi World at Akosombo in the Eastern Region.
The Akosombo Dam had been the pride of the country, as it had contributed substantially to the socio-economic growth of Ghana and continued to be the springboard for industrialisation.
The irrigation schemes along the Volta River had greatly boosted farming, especially in the area of vegetables, maize and rice farming.
'The aquaculture farming up and down stream have contributed immensely to the fish production industry, while the lake transport serves as an alternative to the freight and logistics industry and the supply of potable water,' he said.
Mr Acheampong said the impact of climate change had no continental boundaries and, as such, 'as a nation, we have had our fair share of extreme weather events resulting in loss of lives and property'.
The President Akufo-Addo-led Government attached great importance to climate change, hence it was not surprising that the country had signed onto various international conventions that provided a framework for tackling those issues, he said.
VRA's development and implementation of its EPP, which identified potential emergency conditions and spelled out responsibilities of stakeholders towards minimising the impact of any excessive spillage and dam break scenario, was a major step in the right direction, the Regional Minister said.
Mr Acheampong encouraged all other agencies, especially in the energy sector, to emulate the good example demonstrated by VRA and NADMO to also test their preparedness plans.
'Let us work together to develop a disaster resilient nation through our collective efforts, for prevention is always better than cure,' he said.
Mr Seji Saji, the Deputy Director-General, NADMO, said it was good to have emergency preparedness and response plans, but it was not enough if the plans were not tested.
The exercise, therefore, formed a good basis to review plans to make them better and fit for purpose.
'A full-scale simulation exercise such as this is very costly to plan and execute but the benefits derived far outweigh the financial inputs, which helps to prevent or mitigate disasters and minimise casualty levels,' Mr Saji said.
'On the part of NADMO, which has the responsibility to coordinate emergency preparedness and response among other duties, we are ready to work closely with other power producing agencies to prepare appropriate plans for implementation.'
He expressed gratitude to the United States Embassy in Ghana for its continuous support to NADMO by facilitating technical support through the North Dakota National Guard and providing financial input to ensure a successful exercise.
Mr Edward Obeng-Kenzo, the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Engineering and Operations, VRA, said they had learnt a lot from the exercise and identified several areas where they could improve on to effectively respond to dam-related floods.
He commended the Disaster Response Team for the hard work and commitment to ensuring that the exercise was a success.
He emphasised the Authority's commitment to ensuring a safe and resilient environment for the communities, with a pledge to working together to ensure they mitigate any future flood disasters.
Source: Ghana News Agency