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General News of Monday, 24 September 2007

Source: Nii Kwaku Osabutey ANNY

Floods: Builsa DCE raps UN group

...over Northern floods
... UN officials go dump
... dailyEXPRESS visits temporal relief centre
... victims say no relief items yet

UN officials touring the Northern parts of Ghana badly affected by floods have gone surprisingly mum, refusing to justify their claims that the disaster has been exaggerated.

Many people in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions have been rendered homeless, farmlands destroyed and whole communities cut off as a result of heavy downpours and what have attributed to the opening of Burkinabe dam spillways.

While relief efforts are underway and an assessment of the disaster was underway, some preliminary figures were released amidst increasing visits to the area by government officials, the media and international agencies.

But the UN team while on its tour claimed that the extent of the disaster has been badly exaggerated, a view not shared by many others who have toured the area.

Builsa district chief executive Thomas Alonsi told the dailyEXPRESS in his office that if the UN team had gone round the worst affected areas, they would be overwhelmed.

?... you went round yourself, you will be overwhelmed by the enormity or magnitude of the situation in this district as a result of the flooding situation,? he said.

The DCE said he?s wondering how the rendering of over 14,000 people homeless and the loss of over 6,000 hectares of farmlands by a sustained and heavy down power be described as an over exaggeration.

?For those who really went into the hinterlands to ascertain things for themselves they really were confronted with the facts on the ground, and the facts on the ground are that homes have been destroyed, a number of roads have been cut, a number of bridges have been washed away as a result of the floods? he stressed. Meanwhile, when the dailyEXPRESS contacted the UN officials still doing the rounds about their initial statements, they all declined to comment. James Brown who earlier agreed to speak changed his mind but indicated that he?s not happy with the news reports.

When the dailyEXPRESS team visited a village almost 10miles from the Builsa district capital, the place was home to many displaced persons. The victims who are been housed in the primary school?s classrooms, had to sit under trees to make way for the pupils who were in class.

Speaking through an interpreter they told the dailyEXPRESS that they have not received any relief items from the assembly, since been sent to the temporal relief centre.

Assibiisa Bennaal, one of the victims said his home, farms, livestock and other properties are all gone. ?What I have left are my wife, children and these cattle you see here.?

He claimed that he has not received a single relief item from anybody. Other victims corroborated his story. Akumyeni Orkoptoyeni whose two houses have collapsed told the dailyEXPRESS he has nothing to hold on to excerpt his trousers.

?The rain has washed away everything I have- millet and maize farms, my livestock, even my ordinary clothes for the farms have all been washed away,? he said with tears in his eyes. .