Heavy floods affecting people in Ghana
By Jessica Brey
For the Catholic Herald
It has been a while since we have reported on the news that binds our hearts and minds with our partner in northeastern Ghana.
Our diocesan Global Solidarity Team was alarmed to learn recently that our friends are once again suffering from serious flooding.
Opening flood gates on dam
Last year, during the normal rainy season, Burkina Faso, the country that lies to the north of Ghana, opened the Bagre Dam. This dam controls the Volta River, which flows south into Ghana.
By agreement between the two countries, Burkina Faso gives Ghana a two-week notice that they intend to open the flood gates on the dam in order to save it from bursting due to high water levels.
Because Ghana lacks an adequate system of dams and communication in that area, 275,000 people were displaced, untold numbers died, and thousands of hectares of crops were destroyed, along with livestock and homes.
Most unfortunately, it has just happened again. On August 26, Burkina Faso once again opened the Bagre Dam. With better communications, we hope far fewer lives will be lost, but property damage will be devastating for people who have very little to start with. Government and local resources are far too weak to offer the help the refugees need.
Helping our partners survive
We need to have a response for our partners. We need everyone to help our partners survive this. We need to do what we Catholics do. We step up; we take care of those who need us when they have few places to turn.
We will be contacting the parishes in the diocese and especially those delegates who have personal knowledge of how quickly this area can go from barely making it to "nowhere to turn" and to the parishes who hosted our delegation from Navrongo-Bolgatanga.
A lot of us know what it is like to fight "nature" and lose. We also know that we need help to come back, even in our affluent country. Our brothers and sisters in Ghana desperately need our help right now.
We ask all interested individuals or parish groups to send donations to: Diocese of Madison, Eric Schiedermayer, P.O.Box 44983, Madison, WI 53744-4983 (Memo: Global Solidarity Partnership).
Jessica Brey is the Pastoral Associate at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Beloit, and has been a member of two delegations visiting the Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga in Ghana as part of Catholic Relief Services Global Solidarity Partnership.