Violent tidal waves that swept through parts of the coast in the Greater Accra and the Volta regions have left in their trail damage to the livelihoods of more than 300 fishermen.
The disaster that occurred in the early hours of yesterday has left many fisher folk dejected.
At the Lighthouse area in Jamestown, victims were seen counting their losses. Scores of linear wooden structures that provided shelter for fishermen in the beach community were washed off while the remnants of those structures were inundated with flood water.
The tidal waves defied the presence of the sea defence wall, as the water spilled into the market in the community, wiping away structures and shutting down the economic activities of the people temporarily.
A mixture of desperation, anguish and sorrow was the mood in the area as residents stood in groups, wondering how they were going to pick up the pieces.
One of the victims, Mr Adzi Raka Tetteh, could not hide his frustration as he recounted events to the Daily Graphic.
“It all started around 12 midnight. The pressure from the waves was so intense that everyone had to run for his or her life. As I speak now, my boat, outboard motor and nets have all been carried away. I do not know what I will do to survive because I have nothing left to lean on,” he said.
In a telephone interview, the Chief Fisherman of Jamestown, Nii Kai Okashie III, said the leadership of the Canoe Owners Association had met with some officers of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to take inventory of the extent of damage caused by the waves.
The situation at the Osu Beach was different, as the devastating tidal waves had not extended their powerful presence to that area.
At Bortianor, most of the fishermen who lost their entire fishing equipment could not bear the pain, considering the fact that they were in the fishing season.
Some of them had received the government’s subsidised outboard motors a fortnight ago from the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
While a few managed to retrieve their damaged outboard motors which were buried in the sand, most of them now have their equipment swallowed by the sea.
Misery and hopelessness were written on the faces of many of them as they mustered courage to salvage the broken pieces of their boats and nets.
A fisherman, who only gave his name as Paa T said: “I have lost everything and I am an unhappy man alive.”
According to him, all his fishing gear, including a brand new outboard motor, were washed away by the tidal waves.
“What i left now are the broken pieces of my boat,” he added.
Fishmongers who had dried their stock on the shore were not spared.
After the incident, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bortianor, Mr Bright Demordzi, led a team to visit the affected fisher folk.
It included the Ga South Municipal Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jerry Acquaye Thompson, who gave an assurance that the affected fisher folk would receive the assembly’s support.
For his part, Mr Demordzi called for an urgent intervention for the victims.
At Fuveme, the waves inundated homes. The only primary school in the area was also destroyed in the process.
It is the fourth time the disaster has occurred in the area this year, leading to the destruction of coconut plantations around the sea.
The residents have, therefore, appealed to the government to construct a sea defence wall like the Keta Defence Wall to prevent further occurrences.
The MP for Anlo, Clement Kofi Humado, is, however, not in favour of a sea defence wall as a solution to the perennial tidal waves.
He opined that the immediate solution to the problem was the relocation of the residents.
“I am very much aware of what they are going through, but not in agreement with a sea defence wall because I don’t think that will be an immediate solution,” he indicated.
The fishing community of about 1,500 people have, however, rejected that suggestion.