Regional News of Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Buipe (N/R), Dec. 22, GNA - The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has given coupon vouchers valued at GHc 70.00 to over 700 displaced persons representing 700 households affected by floods at Buipe. They are to use the money to buy non-food items and other essentials. They are to buy building materials, essential hardware, food stuffs, clothing, mattresses and books for their children while part of it could also be used to register with the National Health Insurance Scheme. The programme, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was in collaboration with the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ghana and the Central Gonja District Assembly. The programme is aimed at aiding the 33,305 persons who were displaced as a result of the recent floods which hit the Central Gonja District and other parts of the Northern Region.
Beneficiaries of the program include people aged 65 years and above, nursing mothers, pregnant women, children under three years and the physically challenged.
Mrs. Lisa Washington-Sow, the CRS representative in Ghana, said beneficiaries could use the voucher to purchase items of their choice at their respective local markets. She said the programme was an innovation designed by CRS to replace the traditional method for the distribution of food and non food items. The funds generated would stay with traders at the village level and also encourage local production and consumption as well as help beneficiaries to select what they needed most. She said the presentation of the money in a form of voucher sought to provide preliminary assistance to the victims as a medium term intervention to help them reconstitute their assets and prepare for the next farming season. Mr Issifu Salisu Be-Awuribe, the District Chief Executive for Central Gonja, commended USAID, CRS, and the Catholic Church for their prompt attention and assistance to the district. He said the voucher fair system was an excellent innovative approach which replaced the traditional food and other materials donations, adding that this could stimulate the local economy and help improve the lives of the people.
Mr Be-Awuribe said during the flood 33,305 people were displaced, 8,811, households were affected, 26,822 farmlands were submerged, 65 school= s collapsed, 15 bore-holes were destroyed, 1109 livestock were carried away and some 50 culverts were o washed away.
"The flood has brought hunger and poverty to the affected communities rendering most of them homeless bringing economic activities to a halt", he said. Ms Meredith Fox, USAID Education Officer, said the assistance together with others by USAID was part of efforts to partner the government of Ghana to promote long-term growth and sustainable development throughout the country. She said in 2010 the US provided about 138 million dollars in a form of aid to Ghana to improve governance, health economic growth and education= .. Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Member of Parliament for Central Gonja, commended the media for the role they played in attracting organisations and well wishers to support the affected people. He appealed to communities settling at the banks of the lake to move to higher land to avoid future disasters. "Let us not fold our arms and go and build close to the river again. Let us all listen to the advice as our own way of mitigating the effects of future flooding so that the impact will be less if it should happen again= ". 22 Dec. 10