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19.01.2010 General News

Reports about earthquake scare from the regions

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Greater Accra Panic and terror gripped Ghanaians at dawn on Sunday when a rumour of an earthquake scare hit the country, especially the capital, as all residents woke up from their slumber for fear of their losing their lives. The story about the earth quake rumour started at 2am on Monday and saw residents coming out of their homes to stay on the streets and open places for long hours, for fear of being killed in the impending earthquake.

All major phone services were jammed as family and friends frantically tried to warn about the impending disaster. Some woke their relatives up to prepare for the coming disaster. It took the radio and television stations long hours to refute the rumour before the panicking residents went back to their beds.

Most of the people this reporter spoke to expressed shock at the widespread nature of the rumour, which later turned out to be false.

Meanwhile, government has dispelled the rumour making the rounds about the impending earthquake expected to hit parts of the country.

Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa told Joy FM, a local fm station on Monday dawn that the rumour was false.

“Government wants to assure the nation that it is just a rumour, that, there is going to be an earthquake.

“There is no iota of scientific evidence in that; somebody has just pulled a prank on the nation.

“It's nothing but a wild rumour orchestrated and aimed at causing commotion and panic. It is not true, we have checked from all the official agencies,” he said.

People in Sunyani and other parts of the Brong-Ahafo region are still wondering about the source of the rumour that an earthquake was going to happen in the country, which compelled most of the people to stay awake throughout the night.

A section of the populace described it as an expensive joke, whilst others say it is a wake up call to all Ghanaians who have ignored the directives of Town and Country Planning Officers, NADMO and other agencies, without considering the inherent dangers associated with earthquakes and have built structures similar to those in Haiti.

The situation, though frightening, was also interesting because people were seen carrying their belongings and carrying their children to places of safety. Some men and women were also seen in their night wears, whilst others congregated on school parks to pray to God to save their lives. Some neighbors also shared ideas on ways to escape death when the earthquake strikes.

Greater Accra/Tema
Residents of the Tema Metropolitan area last Monday dawn were gripped with fear when news came that there was going to be an earthquake.

People started running helter skelter out of their houses, under the impression that once they are out of their homes and the unexpected happened they will not be buried under the debris that would be generated after the earthquake.

Others also decided to pack some personal belongings including television sets, radio sets, computers and laptops among others out of their homes to safe places, so that in the event of the earthquake, they would not lose those items.

In most of the places, residents managed to escape from their homes into the open and congregated at mostly football fields in their numbers. Others started praying fervently to the almighty God to save their lives as though the end of times was at hand.

Information gathered by these reporters indicates that the whole confusion was set out as a result of a text message which was circulated into the system by some unidentified persons.

According to our information, relations and friends of residents in the Metropolis who were staying in other cities and towns in other parts of the country called them on phone to inform them about the scare.

On hearing this, they in turn went round to inform their neighbours about the scare, and within a twinkle of an eye, the news spread like wild fire all over the place, compelling residents to abandon their homes, together with their families for open spaces.

The Chronicle gathered that at Tema Community Two (2), mothers and nursing mothers strapped their children behind their backs and under their armpit to keep them away from the supposed danger.

“So people can be afraid of death like this”, was the comment by a bystander. Another one also commented; “Just an earthquake and you people are panicking like this, what then will you do on judgment day”. A regular dawn broadcaster who preaches the gospel took the opportunity to preach the end time message to the panic gripped residents who were listening to him with rapt attention.

What saved the situation that kept most Ghanaian awake was when the deputy Minister of Information, Okudzeto Ablakwah went on air to clear the air that no such information on an impending earthquake has been received from the Meteorological Service.

Western Region Alfred Adams also reports from Takoradi that hundreds of people converged on the streets of the Metropolis at about 3:30 am, for fear of being killed by the earthquake.

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