Residents of Yikpabongo in the Mamprugu – Moaduri district of the Northeast Region are calling on government to ensure the complete ban of illegal logging of economic trees in the area.
According to them, years of indiscriminate felling of rosewoods and other tree species has affected rainfall patterns and exposed the community to the elements of weather and natural disasters.
The residents made the call after they were rendered homeless last week following a heavy rainstorm in the community.
The sudden rainstorm had ripped off the roofs of their homes, uprooted trees and light poles etc.
The residents believe the storm was caused as a result of the impact of the volumes of trees that have been cut from the area since 2017, and are therefore calling on the government to flush out all illegal loggers and merchants in order to forestall severe future disasters.
The spokesperson of the local chief, Samari Bedeo reiterated this assertion calling for swift action to be taken to forestall any future illegal logging to prevent further disasters in the community.
According to him, aside from the disasters the activity has led to, it has also deprived locals enough wood for their own domestic use.
He said “the storm was severe because the trees are not there to play the windbreak function. We want government to stop the cutting of trees here. We now struggle to get wood to roof our buildings. Government must stop them.”
For resident James salifu, he wants the police in the area to be empowered to be able to fight the menace.
“At first the way the wind or storms were coming, when trees were there nothing like this has ever happened. This is my first time, what I have seen. So I see that it will be good if they get anyone who is going to cut down a tree and send it out, discipline should come out.
“I’ve seen that the down-cut of the trees is now affecting us… As I am saying that discipline where would the discipline be, it is our police stations and other areas, they are going to take those things.”
But more crucially some other residents say illegal logging has led to poor rains and crop failure in three years.
A native nurse working at the health center in the community, Ali Charles said, “initially when those trees were there the yield they were having as compared to after they have cut down the trees is not the same, it has reduced drastically.
“And sometimes too, when you enter the bush those lands that were fertile at the time trees were there when you go the water has washed away the nice soil.”
He added that “that’s the cause because those trees were protecting the community, if there were storm like this the storm will remain on the trees, but now that they’ve cut down those trees when the rain comes it removes the roofs.”
The illegal logging has also worsened climate conditions leading to longer droughts in the area. Residents say all their water sources have dried up and as a result are left to dig in dry water beds to find water underground.