The Wa West District in the Upper West Region has been hardest hit by the spillage of the Bagre and Kompiega Dams in Burkina Faso this year.
The district with a population of 99,187 has seen major floods that had cut off most of the communities from the District’s Capital, Wechiau and making it difficult for residents to access major social services like healthcare, trade, among others.
According to the Regional Director of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Mustapha Ahmed, many farmlands have been submerged in water and it was difficult to quantify the extent of loss due to the inability of the organization to access the farmlands.
Mr Ahmed made this known to journalists at Wa on Friday during an interaction with the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr Peter Tuobu Lanchene after touring some of the affected areas that were accessible.
The district has a large stretch of the Black Volta passing through it with a number of low lying areas, making it susceptible to floods, coupled with poor road network in area.
The situation this year, Mr Ahmed maintained had been compounded by the incessant rains which has led to the collapse of the walls of the Balawa dam in the district and caused an unintended spillage that had de-linked several communities such as Balawa and Vieri.
The director mentioned that communities with very high water levels included Dabo, Gongjolo, Jambussie, Nyose, Chietanga, Vieri, Balawa, Talawonaa and Kachuu, among others.
For a people whose mainstay was agriculture, Mr Ahmed expressed concern over the fact that many of them were unable to access their farmlands and said although they had tried to dissuade some of them from moving out of their homes, their plea had fallen on deaf ears.
“Sometimes NADMO officials have to assist school children move from their homes to school but our biggest hurdle still remains getting people to not cross the water, particularly tricycle operators”, he lamented.
He explained that the Kompiega dam ran directly into the Black Volta hence once the spillage was on, the water levels would remain high and asked that residents exercised caution.
He, however, assured that some relief items had been sourced from the head office to be given to persons affected, but said even though they had to assess the situation first to identify the actual victims, they were unable to do so now due to the high levels of the water.
The MP was baffled as to how a permanent solution had not been identified for the annual problem and said “this didn’t happen just this year, we should be thinking of permanent solutions like constructing dams, not dug outs, to harvest the excess water for use in the dry season”.
He lamented that water was a scarce resource in the northern part of the country and would be beneficial for dry season farming if harvested now.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR