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Disregard claims of military withdrawal from Mepe – GAF

In a statement issued by the GAF signed by Naval Captain Ma Larbi, the armed forces called on Ghanaians to disregard media reports suggesting that they have pulled out of Mepe

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has dismissed claims in the media that the military high command has ordered military personnel deployed to Mepe, the township worst affected by the recent spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong Dams, to withdraw from the location and put a stop to the humanitarian support services it is offering to local people.

In a statement issued by the Ghana Armed Force (GAF), dated Sunday 22 October 2023 and signed by Naval Captain Ma Larbi, the armed forces called on well-meaning Ghanaians to disregard the media reports, announcing that the military will stay on the ground and offer its services to the affected communities for as long as it takes.

“The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) wishes to debunk some media reports and series of social media posts, especially on Twitter (X), claiming that military personnel deployed to Mepe in the Volta Region for humanitarian relief operations following the spillage of the Akosombo Dam have been withdrawn.

“GAF wishes to categorically state that the information in circulation is inaccurate and that the personnel have not been given any ‘orders from above’ to withdraw from Mepe or any other community affected by the spillage contrary to the social media posts,” the press release said.

“It must be emphasised that the Humanitarian Relief Operations (Operation Boafo) being conducted by the Ghana Navy’s Riverine Command and the 48 Engineer Regiment of the army is being executed in phases. As of 22 October 2023, the situation in Mepe has been brought under considerable control and therefore it became necessary to urgently redeploy some personnel and equipment to other distressed communities around Battor and its environs, which were in dire need of support.

“Following the deployment of additional personnel and equipment to these distressed communities, the operations being conducted have been varied to suit the evolving situation. It must be placed on record that, for the purpose of this operation, GAF has established an Emergency Operations Centre which is co-ordinating all the GAF activities in a harmonised manner in conjunction with NADMO,” the statement further said.

“Urgent and equitable” response

The GAF press release also assured the general public that, “as recently reported in the media of the thousands of persons rescued and marked efforts being made to support victims, it will not relent in the quest to ensure an urgent, equitable and appropriate response and support to all persons and communities affected by the spillage in conjunction with all stakeholders”.

At least 31,000 people in nine districts spanning the Volta, Eastern and Greater Regions have been affected by the spillage of excess water from the Akosombo and Kpong Dams, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) said on Asaase 99.5 Accra’s weekend news analysis show The Forum.

Crops have been destroyed, schools have shut and business has come to a standstill in Mepe – the epicentre of the affected areas in the Volta Region – as well as parts of the Eastern and Greater Accra Regions after engineers released excess water reserves through the dams at Akosombo and Kpong.

“We have moved most of the affected people to a safe haven. About 31,000 people have been displaced,” NADMO’s deputy director general, Sedji Sadji, told Asaase’s weekend political and current affair show The Forum.

There have been no reports of deaths from the flood. Speaking on the same programme, the spokesman for NADMO, George Ayisi, said relief efforts are going on as expected and called on well-meaning Ghanaians to contribute to the relief effort.

Ayisi said that so far 20 safe havens have been created to house some of the displaced people, adding: “We are doing everything to ensure that nobody uses the water within the enclave because it’s contaminated.”

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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