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Photos: ‘When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats’ – Victim of Keta’s tidal waves

Sea erosion and tidal waves are not new in Ghana. The sea has been eating up land space in more than a dozen coastal communities, from Elubo- on the western border- to Aflao, on the east. But now, the rate- and impact- is alarming.

In Keta, where more than 3,000 people were displaced and property running into hundreds of thousands were swallowed by the sea two weeks ago, this has been a problem known and reported since the 1950s, at least.

There’s more than enough data showing that rising sea levels would continue to cause more devastation and the people in the communities lying in the middle of this crisis, are bracing for the worse.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves

In Agokedzi, one of the most affected communities, we found some of the people who were packing out of homes they had lived in for decades- running for their lives.

As government continues to pussyfoot in efforts to build sea defence walls along some of these areas that are on the brink and as climate change worsens with rising sea levels, people are sitting on a time-bomb.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves

JoyNews asked some of the victims to pose for pictures in their previous homes, which are now part of the sea.

Yao Agbemava is 57 years. She was a big businesswoman, going by standards in this small village. She used to buy provisions from Keta market for retail in a shop in front of his home.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves
Akey Dorgbey was a big businessman before the tidal wave hit his community.

When she was young, she was living in Fuveme, a nearby village that has now been swallowed completely by the sea.

Today, Akey lives in a small room made with thatch. In that one room, she is keeping what she was able to salvage when the water brought down her five-room compound home.

“When I hear the sea waves now, my heart beats. I want to rebuild but I am not sure when the waves will come again,” she says.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves
13-year-old Godwin Vormawor woke up to see everyone running outside.

Godwin Vormawor, 13, only remembers a big bang at the door in the dead of the night two weeks ago. He was fast asleep with three other siblings.

“When I opened my eyes, I saw everyone running outside. My uncle said we should all come out. We came out. I was only wearing my shorts. The water took all my shirts away,” he says.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves
Aliaku and his family have been forced to live in condition they never thought they would.

Aliaku Medal is 18 years and is the eldest of 5 siblings. Now, he and his entire family live in a temporary room made of thatch on the banks of the lagoon in Agokedzi.

“I don’t know where we would run to again when the waves come next time,” he says.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves

Brother Agbasah, 7 years, says “everybody in Agokedzi is scared now. When the waves came, it was painful to see everybody lose everything they had.”

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves
Grama Ahialsi says it was a tramatic experience.

Grama Ahialsi, 6, lives with her mother in Agokedzi. This is the first time she had seen tidal waves come to the village. “I didn’t know what was happening. I thought everyone was going to die.”

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves

Fafali Buabasah, 8 years, had come out with her family to sleep on the beaches of Agokedzi as they would usually do on nights when the room temperature is high.

By midnight on November 6, 2021, the signs were on the wall that it was not going to be a normal night. “All the children were running. I ran away too. In the morning, I saw everyone carrying their belongings and moving away.”

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves
Edem, 5, hopes his school is reconstructed as soon as possible.

Edem Vumekpo, 5 years, attends the Agokedzi RC Primary School. He started school two years ago and hopes to become an engineer. The school was part of many structures that the sea waves took away.

In Fuveme, the nearby village which has recently been swallowed up by the sea too, a school was lost. “Now the school is gone. We learn under a shed,” he says.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves

Faith Azidoku, 4 years, wants to be a nurse and just started schooling at the school where Edem is. She doesn’t seem to appreciate what has happened. When I asked her, she said; “The school building has fallen down.”

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves

Joseph Ahiatsi and Poul Akorli, both 4 years, lived in the same compound house. These days, they come back to the home where they lived only to play with the sand heaps that have filled up the house.

Akey Dogbey, now 57 years, spent most of his childhood life as a fisherman in the Western region, many kilometres away from his native Agokedzi. Ten years ago, he made a decision to come back home.

Photos: 'When I hear the sea waves, my heart beats' - Victim of Keta’s tidal waves
Akey Dogbey now wonders how he is going to cater for his family

When he came, Fuveme, which he had known as a child, was no more. Agokedzi, where he lives, is also on the brink. “It is scary to think what will happen again.

We work, make little money and we build and then the sea comes to take everything away. It hurts. It really hurts,” he lamented.

 

Source: myjoyonline

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