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18.01.2010 General News

Earthquake rumour spreads panic throughout Ghana

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Accra, Jan. 18, GNA - Wild rumours of an imminent earthquake in Ghana on Sunday night sent tens of thousands of panic stricken Ghanaians into the streets and the open where many spent the night.

The panic was triggered on Sunday night, when rumour mongers, taking advantage of the Haiti situation, sent text messages round saying the country was about to experience a major earthquake.

Throughout the night, Ghanaians spread the rumours using text messages, mobile and fixed line phones calls to warn their friends and relatives who reacted by knocking on doors and shouting out to other people to come out of their rooms to avoid a disaster .

Tens and thousands poured into the open and waited for the earthquake which never struck because it was a rumour.

The original rumour, according to those who received the text message, cited the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as the source, but these have proved unfounded. National security is investigating the rumours.

Meanwhile The Ministry of Information has in a statement issued on Monday morning dispelled reports that an earthquake will be hitting parts of Ghana today.

The statement signed by Minister for Information Zita Okaikoi condemned the source of "a dangerous rumour" which has scared many families ever since it started spreading on Sunday night.

Mrs. Okaikoi appealed to the public to go about their normal duties, adding that the Geological Services Department and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) had given an assurance that all is well.

It is a known fact that parts of the country are sitting on an earthquake zone. Accra's Macarthy Hill area is one of those areas and land developers have been warned to take precaution.

The last earthquake in Ghana was 1939 in Accra. It registered 6.5 on the Richter scale and claimed 17 lives and property worth one million British pounds. Other parts of the country have also experienced earthquakes with loss of life and property.

Ghana has always experienced earth tremours, many of which are not felt at all. Those felt were in recent times were experienced in 1997, 2003 and 2006.


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