At least 108 structures have been left in ruins after a rainstorm struck five communities in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region early Thursday.
The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) says over 500 people, including schoolchildren and the aged, have been displaced in the wake of the storm.
Some electricity poles caught fire after the wild wind uprooted them and left their cables hanging on trees and walls. Most of the affected buildings had their roofs ripped off and walls pulled down.
NADMO coordinator for the Bongo District, Alhaji Rafiu Tahiru, told Starr News: “We haven’t finished the assessment. Some houses were submerged. It affected three primary schools- one from a community called Awaa. In fact, this particular building was only handed over to the community last term. The other school is Kupelga Primary School at Vea. The last one is the Akudungu Primary School at Gowrie-Tingre. There is a church called Straight Way Chapel at Vea. It’s also affected. A CHPS compound at Lungu was also devastated.”
Lessons are said to have come to a halt in the affected schools and residents of Lungu, the area where the storm ravaged a health facility, can only access health services at the Bongo District Hospital, about 7 kilometres away.
Nurses to abandon devastated island
The devastated health post at Lungu is situated on an island surrounded by three rivers. The storm punched its roof open, exposing three apartments- the storeroom, the consulting room and the weighing room with their equipment and records- to the rainwater that accompanied it.
The Assemblyman for Lungu, Thomas Atongo Adongo, says the nurses in charge of the facility now see the building as a deathtrap and, for that reason, want to abandon it to safety.
“They have a consulting room, a storeroom and the weighing place. The roof has been taken off. As at now, it’s a deathtrap. The roofing sheets that are not off and that are also not on the ground are hanging. The wood used for the roof is hanging. The nurses are running for their lives. They say they can’t stay there again. Nobody wants to come near a deathtrap like that. It’s something people cannot even go near,” Mr. Adongo told Starr News.
He added: “Now, community members have to cross three rivers to access health at Bongo. The road network is not good. The community is so sad. Already it’s an island and the CHPS compound is what has been helping the people. Most of the light poles are down. Wires are hanging. Wires are on the ground. There are so many damages.”
Maintenance Culture poor- NADMO
Whilst members of the affected communities are appealing to government as well as benevolent organisations and individuals to help put the shattered health post and the ruined school buildings back in shape, NADMO has advised inhabitants to take building maintenance more seriously.
“Climate Change has finally set in. We should be all be alert that anything can happen. There has been nothing like the culture of maintenance. In the olden days, when the rains were about setting in, people would move out to do maintenance.
“We don’t maintain our houses. We have sung the song several times. Nobody listens to us. But when disaster sets in, they come to us. It is better we begin to do something about our buildings before we get into the raining season,” Alhaji Tahiru stressed.
Over 2,000 houses and 44 schools were trashed by rainstorm in the Upper East Region in 2016. Some 11,672 people were displaced in the aftermath of that storm that tore through six districts of the region.