NADMO, VRA, Tests VRA’s Emergency Preparedness Plan on Dam Spillage
The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) with its vision to enhance the capacity of society to prevent and manage disasters and to improve the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable in rural communities has on Monday 8th, May 2023, with the Volta River Authority (VRA) held an opening ceremony of fullscale Simulation on the VRA Emergency Preparedness Plan at the VRA Headquarters in Accra.
The exercise coordinated by NADMO with support from various stakeholders in the emergency response fraternity dubbed: VRA EPP 2023 Exercise ‘’DA WOHO SO’’, will allow VRA to assess and improve its emergency response plans, procedures, and capabilities and also to test its readiness to deal with emergencies that cause the release of a significant quantity of water from the Akosombo and the Kpong Dam and how it impacts lives and property.
Mr. Kwaku Wiafe, Director of Engineering Services, VRA, in a welcome remark, noted that global trends in climate change and their anticipated impacts make it necessary for them as hydropower plant operators to enhance emergency preparedness. He said ‘’according to the intergovernmental panel on climate change in 2021, Climate Change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of compound events occurring simultaneously or sequentially, such as the combination of storm surge, extreme rainfall, and river flooding and These predictions to dam operators indicates the increased possibility of spilling and the potential impact on over 3,000 people downstream of the dams. Therefore VRA’s serious approach to this exercise.’’
Beth Simek, the representative of the US Embassy and the North Dakota National Guard commended efforts on collaborations from various stakeholders and team members for planning such an important exercise. She noted that the US Embassy and the North Dakota National Guard would continue to give their expert support on exercises like this for a collective gain in promoting disaster risk reduction.
Hon. Eric Nana Agyemang Prempeh, Director General of NADMO, in a statement, emphasized that ‘’ the government agency responsible for dealing with disasters and similar emergencies in Ghana is the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO). Aside from its core mandate of coordinating all resources during emergencies, the organization requires all agencies to establish emergency preparedness and response plans under Law 216 (Act 927). This law obliges agencies to simulate their plans jointly with NADMO therefore the management of VRA abides by the laws of the country and for that reason, I would like to congratulate them and take this opportunity to encourage all agencies to emulate them.
In a keynote address by the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Engineering and Operations, Ing. Edward Ekow Obeng-Kenzo, he stated that the EPP is therefore designed to provide early warning of any potential disaster and manage the response to minimize effects on life and property in communities downstream. He further noted that a significant benefit of the exercise is that the lessons will help manage other similar emergencies.
Mr. Seji Saji, Deputy Director General in Charge of Technical and Reforms, NADMO, expressed gratitude to the planning committee drawn from various agencies and reiterated that the VRA EPP 2023 Exercise ‘’DA WOHO SO’’ is a week-long activity with a series of events at various communities, Ada, Mepe, Atimpoku, etc. earmarked for the main simulation on 11th May 2023.
Mr. Seji Said, the simulation exercise would be characterized by a total evacuation demonstration, testing the efficiency of Early warning, and ensuring the designated safe havens befit the purpose.
Other key stakeholders at the Event were Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Navy, Ghana Ambulance Service, Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Water Company, Signal Bureau, National Security, North Dakota National Guard, and the US Embassy.