Kurugu, Kandiga, Upper East Region, Ghana – A heartbreaking incident has left the close-knit community of Kurugu in mourning, as a 6-year-old primary one pupil, Master Emmanuel Atingane Amaalba, lost his life in a drowning accident that has underscored a pressing issue in the area.
The young boy’s untimely demise occurred in the Zorko River, a perennial source of sorrow for this community, Zorko and Sumbrugu that have seen countless lives lost to drowning.
The incident unfolded on a seemingly ordinary day when young Emmanuel joined his elder brother and other children for a fishing expedition at the river.
Mr. Daniel Amaalba, the grieving father of the late Emmanuel, shared his sorrow, saying that the boy followed his elder brother to the riverside but was asked to sit and observe due his young age while the senior brothers fished. Unbeknownst to them, the 6-year-old slipped into the water, which led to the tragic drowning.
Emmanuel’s family and the community have been devastated by the loss, particularly because it is no longer the rainy season, and the river typically remains relatively dry.
However, as Hon. Adamu Asaah, the assembly member of the Kurugu Electoral Area, explained, there is a collection of water at one point in the river, which is essential for irrigation purposes during the dry season.
This water source has inadvertently become a magnet for children’s fishing expeditions, putting their lives at risk.
In a heart-wrenching revelation, Hon. Asaah highlighted the broader issue that Kurugu has been grappling with for years – the recurring tragedies caused by drowning in the Zorko River.
He noted that the community members have, over the years, witnessed numerous lives lost, often during the rainy season when the river’s current is stronger, and many people are forced to cross it for business and to visit their relatives.
“The effect of drowning on the community has been terrible,” he said, “as breadwinners and active, promising youth have been taken away, leaving their families in a miserable state.” He made a fervent appeal for the provision of a boat and lifeguards to facilitate safe river crossings during the rainy season. Additionally, he called for the implementation of an education program aimed at preventing drownings in the communities along the river.
Ghana, like many other countries, has faced challenges in addressing the issue of drowning comprehensively.
The absence of a National Strategic Plan on Drowning Prevention and the lack of attention from policymakers have left many vulnerable to this “silent killer.”
The tragedy that befell young Emmanuel Atingane Amaalba has underscored the urgent need for action to prevent further loss of lives in Kurugu and other communities in Ghana affected by this perilous issue.
The death of the child is a stark reminder that drowning is a pressing concern that demands immediate attention and action.