The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, has assured the people of Salakope, Agavedzi, Amutinu and Adina in the Ketu South Municipality in the Volta Region of the government’s commitment to construct an eight-kilometre coastal protection wall to protect lives and property in the area.
He said coastal protection was one of the key priorities of the government, and that plans were already in motion to avert the tidal waves and coastal erosion in the area.
He added that technical arrangements had been done, and the ministry was working on the needed financial arrangements to ensure that the project commenced this year.
Mr Asenso-Boakye said this when he paid a working visit to some communities in Ketu South that had been affected by tidal waves to have first-hand information about the situation.
The sector minister was accompanied by the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa; the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu South, Ms Abla Dzifa Gomashie; the Municipal Chief Executive of the Ketu South Municipal Assembly, Mr Elliot Agbenorwu, and other officials of the ministry.
At a durbar hosted by the Paramount Chief of the Some Traditional Area, Torgbigah Adamah III, and attended by other traditional leaders in the area, as well as the Assembly Member for Amutinu-Salakope, Mr Sylvester Kumawu, Mr Asenso-Boakye stressed that his ministry was working towards securing the necessary funding for the sea defence project.
“I want to assure you that the government is committed to protecting your lives and property, and I am very confident that we’ll secure the funding, and this will be the first time the government will be investing into an eight-kilometre stretch of sea defence project.
“I am hopeful that in the course of this year we should start the construction of the sea defence here,” the minister said.
Mr Asenso-Boakye said the situation needed urgent action, adding that “I have seen that if we don’t take action the rains will take over the main street here, so this is very important”.
The Acting Director of Hydrological Services Department of the ministry, Mr Hubert Osei-Wusuansa, who had earlier visited the community to assess the situation prior to the minister’s visit, said there was an urgent need for the project — which would constitute the second phase — to be undertaken.
The ministry together with the consultant, he said, had worked on the proposal and submitted it to the Ministry of Finance.
Ms Gomashie expressed excitement about the visit, and said the situation saddened her heart as she also lived by the sea.
“I am excited that both ministers are here with me, and have confirmed that, indeed, there’s been more deterioration than the last time we were here.
“The acknowledgment alone gladdens my heart. I am hopeful that we’ll see some concrete action,” the MP said.
Ms Gomashie noted that some of the people in the affected communities, who used to depend on some economic activities at the border, had to resort to fishing after the closure of the borders in March last year.
She said with the damage caused by the sea, it had become more difficult for them to undertake fishing expeditions lately.
Torgbigah Adamah thanked the delegation for the visit.
“We hope the coming of the minister will not be a nine-day wonder, but action will be taken as soon as possible for this sea defence to be fixed for my people,” he said.
The Paramount Chief added: “I am appealing to you that you should do everything possible to start the project. I wish they started next month because two months from now the behaviour of the sea will change and will destroy more properties.”
The tidal waves became intense in 2015, for which reason the government signed a contract with Amandi Company Limited for a sea defence project.
The first phase of the project, which commenced in 2016, tackled the coastal stretch from Havedzie through Horvi, Blekusu to Agavedzi, which were at the mercy of the destructive force of the waves.
The second phase, when approved, is expected to start from Agavedzi and cover Salakope, Amutinu, Adina and other near by communities.