Hundreds of residents of Adina, Agavedzi, Amutinu, Blekusu, and Salakorpe in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta region took to the streets on Wednesday in a protest to express their displeasure over what they describe as the government’s sheer negligence in protecting them against the ravages of a tidal wave.

The aggrieved residents mounted roadblocks and set car tyres ablaze on the Keta to Aflao road, causing vehicular traffic along that stretch in a move to force the government to immediately extend the Keta Sea Defence Project to cover the affected areas.

Several residents are displaced, properties lost, with many living in fear, not knowing what will happen next.

Addressing the media during the protest, convener for the group and Assemblyman for the Amutinu-Salakorpe electoral area, Sylvester Kumawu called on government to as a matter of urgency extend the Keta Sea Defense project to the area.

He said, “the tidal waves are continuing to destroy our properties, it’s destroying our houses, it has taken over our land and the people are left with nothing; they are sleeping on the street. So we are craving the indulgence of the MCE, the Regional Minister and the President, and all those who have the power to ensure that as soon as possible, the plight of the people of Amutinu, Adina, Agavedzi, Salakorpe, and Blekusu is salvaged in time.”

He insisted that they would not allow vehicular movement on the Keta-Aflao road until their grievances are addressed.

“We cannot promise when because we have heard promises from the MCE, Regional Minister and from the Presidency since 2017 and anytime we plan to embark on a demonstration, we are talked to and we heed advise and so now that we have gone onto the street, we would be hoping that these things remain on the road until our problems are solved.”

Maria Tettey, a mother of three and a victim of the recent destruction said, “Everything is gone, the sea has taken away all my belongings. What we are left with is a mat and a kitchen stool. I have nowhere to sleep and so I sleep on the tomb in the cemetery here with my children. We need the government to come to our aid.”

The situation has also forced several students to abandon school as their books and uniforms have been taken away by the sea.

Few hours after, the MCE for the Ketu South Municipality, Elliot Edem Agbenorwu arrived to calm situations but that certainly was unsuccessful.

He however assured them that efforts are far advanced in ensuring that the crisis is halted.

He said, “It is a heavy heart that I come here with a message from the Presidency because I belong to this community. I remember in 2017 July, we had a tidal wave challenge that saw the government move contractors back to the site and they have been able to protect the coastal community from Blekusu to at least, part of Agavedzi. However, we need to continue with phase two of the project. We’ve gone far there is a letter from the Ministry of Works and Housing to the Finance Ministry and once clearance is given, the contractor would be back to the site.”

“But I want to assure them that government is a listening government, I will convey this message back to the President and the Minister of Works and Housing and to make sure phase two of the project commences as soon as possible,” he assured.

According to the Ketu South Director of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Paul Alossode, his outfit has from time to time provided relief items and temporal structure for the affected persons but called on government to expedite action on the sea defense project to offer a lasting solution.

It took the intervention of a combined force of the police and the military to successfully clear the road after several hours of engagement with the leadership of the protesters.

In 2018 alone, over 242 houses and properties with different valuations were submerged by the sea, displacing close to 2000 residents. A number of boats and nets of fishermen in the area were completely destroyed.

Successive governments in their attempt to put an end to the crisis have spent US$85 million at Keta and US$41 million at Dzita to construct sea defense structures.

Nonetheless, tidal waves still threaten the livelihood and existence of residents along the Blekusu to Aflao Coast.

Source: Abdul-Iddrisu