Devastation caused by erosion along the Ada beach
In an attempt to cling to their ancestral homes and traditional occupation of salt-winning and fishing, four communities near Ada in the Greater Accra Region are living at the peril of their lives; sandwiched between a sea which is claiming their houses and a lagoon which does not allow a retreat.
The sea which kept bombarding them with unpredictable tidal waves has resulted in most parts of these towns being taken over by the sea since the Towu Lagoon does not allow them to shift backwards from the roaring sea.
Trapped under these circumstances for decades Anyaman, Totope, Akplabanya and Pute communities have been reduced to a fraction of their original sizes.
Ironically, fish, the source of their livelihood which is provided by both waters is dwindling since the catch from the sea is nothing to talk about as most of the water in the Lagoon have evaporated, seriously affecting salt production as before.
A visit by the Times to the communities after an onslaught of one of the worst tidal waves to have occurred in decades, which once again swept many houses to sea, though the inhabitants could be seen attending to their daily chores, one could easily discern that the people feel trapped with nowhere else to go.
At Totope, one of the fishermen, Theophilus Kwakunaku, who had just returned to town from a fishing expedition had just a handful of fish to show for a day’s work.
He confirmed that most of them are only compelled to live within the communities since they have nowhere else to go.
What was worse Mr Kwakunaku said was that the Lagoon which they relied on for supplementary fishing had also dealt them a double blow by drying up, making it impossible to win salt or navigate it.
He said the situation has worsened their plight since going to the next town will mean taking a long detour for hours.
The situation was not different from Totope and the other communities.
At Nene Abayateye’s Palace at Anyaman, just about 25 metres from the sea, half of the building had been buried in sand creating a sense of fear for those within as the sea roared behind.
Nene Abayateye emphasised the apprehension of the people by stating their willingness to move to a safer ground if their housing needs could be provided for.
Asked about what becomes of their profession under such a situation when they move away from their source of livelihood, Nene Abayateye said they would travel back to their communities everyday to work.
At Akplabanya, “The Times” came across five pupils studying in one of the destroyed buildings near the coast line.
Holding up, a text book, one of the lads said “This is the only book left for me to study as the waves took all the other books away.
Nene Kitcher, an aspiring Parliamentarian, acting as guide pointed to a building just at the edge of the beach which he used to be the middle of the town.
Unfortunately for these four communities, they are not covered by the sea defense wall which is being constructed to save Ada township.
Mr. Rex Wussah, District Chief Executive of the Dangbe East District said the Defence Wall will cover only 12 kilometres of the beach until another funding has been sourced to stretch it to their area.
At the Assembly office building which is the only surviving building from a devastated lot at the beach front, Mr. Wussah said work has begun for a seven-kilometre stretch of sea Defence wall which will protect the Assembly building.
Dr. Cecilia Bentsi, Chairperson of the Relief and Reconstruction Committee of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) said it is high time to communities consider moving to higher grounds to save from the tidal waves.
She said, currently apart from giving them relief packages anytime the waves strike, the government does not have the fund to build new communities for them.
Meanwhile, scientists have observed that sea level rose at an average rate of about 3.1 mm per year during between 1993 to 2003; warning that the trend can worsen in view of global warming.
The Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their Fourth Assessment report estimates that the average global sea level is expected to rise up to 50 cm by 2100, thus creating more dangerous tidal waves for coastal cities and communities.