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General News of Saturday, 22 September 2007

Source: GNA

Govt's appeal for flood victims yielding fruits

Accra, Sept. 22, GNA--Following government's appeal for assistance for distressed persons affected by floods in the three northern regions, international donor agencies, non-governmental organizations, private companies and individuals, have started donating relief items. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is to provide $2,000,000.00 through a 'Flash Appeal' launched for the flood victims. Out of the amount, the World Food Programme (WFP) will utilize $1.5m for the purchase of food items while the remaining $500,000.00 is used for other relief items.

Mr. Dauda Toure, Resident Representative of the United Nations announced this at a meeting between the Cabinet Inter-Ministerial Committee on the disaster and donor agencies, international organizations, and religious bodies at the Castle, Osu, on Friday, 21st September 2007.

The meeting chaired by Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, Chief Advisor to the President and Chairperson of the committee, examined the report of the joint assessment team that toured the disaster regions earlier this week.

The WFP announced a relief package made up of 694 tons of cereal, 83 tons of grains and 40 tons of cooking oil for 75,000 persons with a value totalling $500,000.00 dollars.

It also announced a package of 30 tons of high energy biscuits for 40,000 displaced people, out of which 22 tons is already being distributed with 8 tons on standby.

The U.S. Embassy has made available $50,000 worth of relief items through the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), while the Department for International Development (DFID) has also contributed $250,000 through the Red Cross. The Catholic Relief Services has contributed an extra $20,000 to complement ongoing relief activities. UNICEF also has relief items for 75,000 persons some of which have already been dispatched to the affected areas. They include care items for pregnant women and "school-in-a-box" packs for displaced children. To facilitate the ongoing programme Plan Ghana has committed $220,000 worth of assistance, $120,000 of which will be for food items and the rest for non-food items. The church of Latter Day Saints has already donated items worth $15,000 to victims in the Upper East, and will be donating more items worth $150,000 shortly.

Other humanitarian assistance is from the Chinese government which has donated $30,000.00. The Spanish government has also donated 4 tons of tents and blankets totalling ?220,000 which are already iIn the country, with the rest of the consignment made up of seven tons of medicine and medical supplies expected to arrive by next week. The Red Cross has also stated that it has 10,000 volunteers on stand-by to help in distributing relief items, and doing whatever is needed to help the victims.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture will also be making its inputs of machinery, seedlings and technical advice to the victims, most of whom are farmers. This would mainly be for vegetable farming to ensure that the people will have alternative sources of income, until they can return to cultivating the crops they were growing before. An NGO, World Vision Ghana, will be taking delivery of tarpaulins, food items and medicines next week, from their international partners to support relief activities. Personnel from the Ghana Army have also offered their services as labour force, in erecting the tents provided by the donor agencies and also for further reconstruction works to be undertaken in the North.

Ghanaian companies that have made donations so far include: Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) which is providing 1,000 ceramic pot filters valued at $15,000.00, designed to purify all drinking water for about 400,000 people. The company has already delivered 500 of the filters and will make the rest available by next week. Melcom Ghana Limited has donated 1,730 pieces of buckets, water drums, and cups valued at Gh=A2966.57 while the Volta Foundation has donated 200 pieces of treated mosquito nets, three 50 kilogramme bags of rice, three 25 kilogramme bags of sugar, and one carton each of Geisha tuna fish, cooking oil and tomato paste. Crocodile Machetes Company has donated quantities of cutlasses, hoes, 'T' shirts and hats to the victims.

Among individuals who have so far donated are Mr Asio Banin of Nat-San Company limited and Madam Juliet Sekyere, a business woman in Tema, who donated a bale of blankets and used clothing respectively. The government wishes to announce that the National Disaster Relief Fund: Account Number 100 - 863 - 151 - 2453 has been opened at the Bank of Ghana, and all persons wishing to make cash donations to the victims of the flood in the three northern regions should kindly pay them into the account.

We would like to remind all concerned that a 24 hour Operations Room is operating at the Ministry of the Interior. It is the coordinating point for all relief activities, and enquiries about the disaster should be directed there. The telephone numbers to the OPS ROOM are as follows: 22 Sept. 07