Unusual Force Majeure
5/21/2012 4:30:36 PM -
The windstorm which swept through Accra and the rest of the coastal belt last Saturday, unusual as it was, passed as a significant test for the structures lining our city roads, especially billboards and even houses. It also afforded us the rare opportunity, above all, to focus on the authorities' enforcement of bylaws against laid-down standards.
The number of billboards which bowed to the sheer wind speed of a mere 90 kilometres per hour in Accra and other locations along the coastal belt showed just how flimsily the structures were erected as it exposed residents and motorists to avoidable dangers.
The casualty figures coming in from the various coastal locations along the wind's path could have been higher had some of the fallen billboards trapped pedestrians and motorists.
We can now, if we choose to, examine what happened and correct ourselves by ensuring that standards as contained in bylaws and the like are strictly adhered to, regardless of whose ox is gored.
There are many houses which expose prominent architectural defects, posing danger to occupants and which therefore call for immediate action from state agents charged with the safety of building constructions.
There is always a thin line between life and death in built-up areas when a force majeure, as witnessed last Saturday, strikes, yet little or nothing is done to guard against the dangers associated with natural disasters.
Had some of the structures around Circle and in Cape Coast fallen on cars and even passing pedestrians, we would have been treating a different commentary by now.
Let those in charge of standards regarding the erection of billboards and even buildings be serious with their tasks because honestly, we cannot hand, on heart, vouch for their efficiency.
Considering the weight and height of some of the structures, against the backdrop of their bases, even the layman can tell there has been a breach of standards.
It is our position that the relevant authorities stand on their feet and ensure that all players play according to the rules as, by law, established because breaches of such standards often result in avoidable casualties.
At Mamobi, a sprawling suburb of Accra close to Nima, the story of an electrocuted woman whose sad incident occurred during the Saturday rain calls for pondering.
In spite of the dangerous and illegal wiring of many houses in the sprawling suburb and other parts of Accra, residents appear to be oblivious to the inherent danger.
We have gathered that the woman met her fate after coming into contact with an electrified roofing sheet, evidence of flimsy wiring as noted in the previous paragraph.
Will the anomaly be rectified now that it has claimed a life? We doubt if the family will be ready to foot the bill of a proper wiring of the house and with the relevant authorities nowhere near being serious with their work, the status quo persists. God save us.