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General News of Monday, 21 June 2010

Source: GHP

Death toll in Ghana's floods rises to 24

The death toll in Sunday's torrential rains and floods that followed has risen to 24 following the discovery of 13 more bodies, 12 at Agona Swedru, a town 85 kilometres west of here, and one in the Volta region.

The worst affected structures were school buildings and a portion of a sports stadium in Agona Swedru, Frank Abban, an assembly member from the area, told the media later on Monday.

Appealing the government to provide reliefs and shelters for the effected residents, Abban said that about 1,000 houses have been destroyed by the rains which started at 1230 GMT and lasted for 5 hours on Sunday.

Earlier, officials of Ghana's National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) told the media that workers of the relief agency had retrieved 11 bodies in Tema, a port city 30 kilometers east of here.

The 10-hour downpour destroyed properties worth millions of U. S. dollars while thousands of residents had been rendered homeless by the torrential rains as a number of houses were submerged in the low area of Tema.

A bridge linking Ghana and neighbouring Togo on the eastern corridor collapsed during the heavy downpour, cutting off travellers from the two West African countries.

Reports from the eastern, central and Volta regions of the country said that large envelop of land were under water with a number of communities cut off from the rest of the country, leaving travellers stranded.

NADMO coordinator said that NADMO has dispatched emergency relief items to victims of flood areas.

Officials of the relief agency worked throughout the night with the support of the Ghana Navy and other security personnel to evacuate about 5,000 people whose houses were flooded in Tema.

Meanwhile, Minister for Roads and Highways Joe Gidisu told the media on Monday that Sunday's devastating floods should move Ghanaians to support the ongoing demolishing exercise to remove illegal structures on water ways.

According to the minister, the buildings on waterways have contributed immensely to the problem of perennial flooding in the country especially in the capital city.

The West African country has started a nationwide exercise to demolish structures on watercourses but has encountered stiff opposition from residents of affected areas across the nation.

However, the meteorological services agency of the country is yet to give details of the degree and intensity of the rain, which hit most parts of the West African country.