In 2010, during one of regular discussions with the elders in the village, we were told that one of their biggest problems was the flooding of the river every summer; their rainy season. No reason was given so it was assumed it was indeed the rain. We began to look in to flood relief schemes.

On our next visit we again asked about the flooding and were told to our amazement that the flooding was not the rain but was man-made. It was caused by the opening of the flood gates in a hydro scheme some hundred miles further up the river. And worse we realised that if it was flooding our village it was also flooding hundreds of other villages affecting tens of thousands of people.

The damage is extensive. It washes away crops, floods homes leading to temporary relocation, drowns animals, pollutes water wells, floods schools and clinics as well as their ancestral burial grounds. The cost for these very poor people is enormous, money they cannot afford.

In December 2011 we visited the hydro scheme and determined that there was no reason why the flooding had to occur, that the answer was quite simple and would cost nothing!

We met with a politician from our area and he saw the problem straight off as well as the solution we proposed. He set up a meeting with the relevant Minister which took place in March 2012 with a view to stopping this unnecessary destruction immediately. We had the meeting.

Incredibly, in June and September 2012, our village and all the others were not flooded for the first time since the hydro scheme was opened some 25 years before. Over 200,000 people had benefitted! For the first time these poor yet wonderful people were not devastated by losing much of the food and the few possessions they might have.

In May of 2013 we again had a meeting with the same people in the Ministry of Energy in Togo and again we visited the hydro scheme at Nangbeto. Again we producd a paper.

The good news was that the river did not  flood our village and hundreds of others for over 6 years. It did in 2019 due to unforeseen rain over a prolonged period. Hopefully this will not be repeated. We are waiting to see if we need to get involved again.


Updated October 2019