Akosombo Dam spillage: 19,743 school kids displaced
A total of 19,743 school children in the Eastern, Volta and Greater Accra Regions have been affected by the recent Akosombo and Kpong Dam spillage, a study conducted by Child Rights International (CRI) has revealed.
They are from 71 schools comprising Kindergarten, Primary and Junior High.
More than 9,000 of them could not retrieve their educational materials, including uniforms, bags, books, shoes, and textbooks from the floods.
At a press conference in Accra today, the Executive Director of CRI, Mr Bright Appiah described the situation as unbearable and called on the Ghana Education Service to develop and implement an Education Recovery Plan.
This, he said would help expedite the reintegration of affected children into school to enable them to catch-up with teaching and learning activities.
He said the study was conducted by the organisation to assess the impact of the spillage, especially in the education and health of children.
According to Mr Appiah, per CRI’s estimation, it would take more than three months for the state to officially return the children back to school, hence the need to start addressing the problem faster.
He said CRI would carry out an exercise to supply affected children with books and essential materials.
With regards to health, he said the study indicated that 90 per cent of children in safe havens had reported having contracted one ailment or the other.
“The top three diseases reported in the havens among children are malaria at 94.3 per cent, skin diseases at 70 per cent and headaches at 30 per cent,” he said.
According to Mr Appiah, the study showed trauma and psychological effects of the spillage on the children.
“Reports of psychological issues among children have also been noted with over 95 per cent of children reporting anxiety and sadness.
“About 20 per cent of children showed signs of dissociation refusing to acknowledge the disaster and any impact it may or may not have had on them, this group claims that nothing has changed in their lives and things are just fine,” Mr Appiah said.
The study also indicated that more than 3,200 adolescent girls affected by spillage had reported the lack of access to personal hygiene products such as sanitary towels forcing them to resort to the use of other unhygienic materials.
Mr Appiah said his outfit would supply sanitary towels for adolescent girls to ensure that they have access to clean and hygienic options to maintain their health and dignity.
He said 0.62 per cent of children had reported instances of physical sexual abuse and one per cent verbal abuse.
“There were concerns raised by about 20 per cent of children expressing displeasure over sleeping arrangements in some safe havens that allowed rooms to be occupied by both males and females.
80 per cent of girls reported feeling uncomfortable having to dress up in the presence of the boys and expressed a lack of privacy in those circumstances,” he said.
Mr Appiah called on all organisations and government agencies in charged with the distribution of relief items to ensure that equitable distribution of relief items, particularly to children with disabilities or those caring for differently-abled parents were addressed.