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Mepe Development Association condemns Sanitation Minister’s comments on flood victims

The Mepe Development Association (MDA) has strongly condemned comments by the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Prempeh, concerning flood victims in the Mepe community and other floods-affected communities in the Lower Volta Basin.

Ms. Freda Prempeh blamed victims of the floods induced by the spillage of the Akosombo Dam, for not heeding early warnings by the Volta River Authority and other state agencies to evacuate.

The Minister said the victims refused to relocate until the unfortunate incident happened, making them a burden to the government.

“The Akosombo spillage, even though VRA, NADMO, and the Water Resource Commission came together to educate the people in the community, did a simulation exercise at Mepe, yet they refused to leave, they didn’t want to be evacuated, they stayed there till the end when we started spilling,” she said.

Reacting to her statements, the MDA in a press release accused the minister of peddling misinformation and disinformation against the victims of the “state-created disaster.”https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B2IXmqCjpTfWJ755x_oMLOZ_2wvYUOrB/preview

Poring over details of the minister’s statement, the MDA stated that the Mepe Traditional Council, the Mepe Development Association, opinion leaders and all stakeholders were not engaged in any simulation exercise or post-simulation exercise as claimed by the minister.

“How such an important exercise could escape the eyes and ears of these key stakeholders in the community leaves one to wonder whether the monies expended on the simulation should not be refunded to the state coffers,” the MDA stated.

The Association further said the minister’s suggestion that the people of Mepe ought to have evacuated is misplaced as prior to and following the flood incident, neither the VRA nor any other state agency had provided any temporary shelter facilities for displaced citizens.

“It was the leadership of the MDA, in consultation with the chiefs, that took the initiative to create seven makeshift safe havens for the affected flood victims in the following locations: Mepe R.C. Primary, R.C JHS, Mepe Presby Primary, Presby JHS, D.A JHS, Holy Christ, and St. Kizito Secondary Technical School.

“Out of these seven safe havens, only St. Kizito, which currently houses 1,320 displaced persons, received six mobile toilets just this past Friday, provided by the VRA after persistent appeals,” the MDA stated.

The Association continued; “Is the Minister aware that over 1,000 displaced Ghanaian citizens are now relying on just six mobile toilets at St. Kizito?

“Is she informed that the remaining six safe havens in Mepe do not have any mobile toilets? And does she know that the displaced victims, including children and women, are exposed to mosquitoes and other dangerous reptiles every night?

“We also question how many litter bins, mosquito nets, and access to clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has provided the people of Mepe since the man-made flood disaster.”

The MDA called on the minister to show up and support the affected communities instead of leading a campaign of misinformation and disinformation concerning the flood disaster.

“The MDA calls on the Minister to inform the nation about her ministry’s response to the looming health crisis in the affected communities, the contamination of water sources, and the unsanitary conditions created by the flood. It is time for real action, Madam Minister. Show up.

“As a community, we have had enough of misinformation and disinformation from official sources since the flood disaster occurred. We are still grieving and emotionally distraught. All we request is respect for our sensitivity and dignity during these challenging times in our history,” the MDA said.

It further urged all state appointees and communicators to refrain from making ill-informed and uneducated comments that blame the flood victims for the disaster.

“The state must acknowledge its role and take responsibility for the mess it has created, showing remorse and empathy toward the affected communities. Let us refrain from exacerbating the pain of our people, the poor and the vulnerable, Minister Freda Prempeh,” the MDA stated.

It called on the minister to unreservedly and immediately apologise to the chiefs and people of Mepe for her unfortunate comments.


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