Keta, Anglo and Ketu South communities under siege


13 May 2024

The plight of communities on the eastern coast of Ghana continues to deepen as homes in Keta, Anglo, and Ketu South are constantly swallowed by the ever-threatening Atlantic Ocean.

Residents in the aforementioned communities, whose original settlements can only be traced in nautical miles, are tired of continued relocation, leaving them in limbo. The once-vibrant fishing communities now live without the least income, with their lives, livelihoods, and very existence almost extinct.

One of the most affected sectors of the natural phenomenon is the hospitality industry. Owners of hotels are unable to quantify the funds that they have sunk into fetching heavy stones to build borders to protect their properties—measures that are even a scratch at the back of the tortoise.

According to experts, such individual defenses can be undone by just 3.5-meter-high tides known as spring tides, which are unusual rises and falls in tides during half or full moons and can last from two to five days.

The Chief Fisherman of Salakorpe, a predominant fishing community in the Ketu South Municipality in the Volta Region, Torgbui Emmanuel Anumutete, tells Modern Ghana that, his entire house, which stood some 700 metres away from the beach, has gone, leaving only the kitchen. Not only does the beach now serve as their bedrooms because they lost their homes to the sea, but the situation has also created unsanitary conditions as they now attend to nature's call at the beach and the sea waves carry the faecal matter back to their makeshift shelters.

He Narrates a tragic incident where his children nearly drowned in the sea at the depth of the night. "Because our rooms are no more, the beach is where we, our wives and children sleep each night. Three days ago, the angry sea carried my children away while we were sleeping at night, but for our swiftness, the children would have been carried away," he narrates.

Resigning to fate, the Salakorpe Chief Fisherman pathetically says he is patiently waiting for the sea to carry him away to end it since all hope is lost. "Am i going to Agbozume or where with my fishing net and canoe? I have nowhere to go so I'm just waiting for the sea to come and carry me away, that's all," he added.

A return to the Keta flood control gate about two hours after an earlier visit saw a surprising rise in the water levels by about four feet. This resulted in the flooding of houses around the lagoon banks.

One Forgive Sokpe, was preparing an evening meal, and within thirty minutes, the kitchen and entire house had submerged. She discloses how the routine always alters the taste of their drinking water. "This is what happens almost every day, and this turns our drinking water salty, rendering it unsafe for drinking.". She therefore called on the authorities to take a second look at the flood control gate to reverse the unpleasant occurrence.

However, against hopelessness and resignation, some respite seems to be beckoning. Ghana has secured funding from the World Bank, to tackle the situation under the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme (WACAP).

Albert Derrick Fiatu, the Executive Director of the Centre for International Maritime Affairs Ghana (CIMAG), revealed the heartwarming news and was optimistic that the project will commence soon to give some respite to the remaining coastal dwellers. "The relevant authorities have met with the people subsequent to a meeting of CSO platforms at Aburi, for further deliberations. I can assure you that the project will start in no time, and the situation where the see is seen as a curse to us rather than a blessing will be a thing of the past," he emphasized.

The multimillion-dollar question, however, is how soon the soon-to-be-commenced project will start to salvage the few remnant communities from further destruction. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.



By Eddie Serbbie Graham