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03.08.2004 General News

Accra on the verge of another earthquake - GSD

By GNA

Accra, Aug. 3, GNA - The Geological Survey Department (GSD) on Tuesday warned that Accra was on the verge of experiencing an earthquake due to the frequency of seismic reading from the Ritchter Scale in recent times.

Mr Philip Oduro Yaw Amoako, Director GSD, who announced this at a consultative meeting on earthquake organised by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in Accra on Tuesday, noted that no one could predict an earthquake with mathematical precision. "We only need to be prepared, especially now that we have the early warning signs of recording a tremor at least once in every month or two." The last major tremor in Accra was in October last year and measured 3.8 on the Ritchter Scare while the last catastrophic earthquake was in 1939.

He advised residents of Accra to create a plan for their homes and workplaces and make such plans known to all family members including what to do before, during and after the quake.

Mr Amoako also called for the improvement in building technology, saying most new buildings in the city of late already had cracks in them following slight tremors, whilst the colonial buildings were still as strong as the time when they were built. "We have to improve on our building technology in order to save lives and property, if the earthquake should happen," he said. Mr Amoako also called for the creation of open spaces where people could run to whenever any disaster occurred.

"In the whole Ussher Fort and James Town areas for instance, there are only seven open spaces to be used as assembly points if a disaster should strike. "These point are also not very accessible due to the way houses and other structures have been erected in access ways. "Mr Amoako noted that this was the condition in the entire city and called on the city authorities to act.

Brigadier Joe Odei (rtd), National Coordinator of NADMO, said though Ghana could not be said to be an earthquake-prone zone like Japan and Turkey, "we do know from the records of the GSD and other historical records and current seismograph readings that Ghana could suffer a major earthquake". He said it was unfortunate that the major socio-economic and technological infrastructures were in the southern half of the country and were located on the Active Faults Zones. He named areas on the Active Faults Zones as the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Kotoka International Airport, Akosombo Dam, Ghana Telecom, Tema Harbour, University of Ghana, Parliament House and Castle, Osu. "In Nepal, an earthquake damaged the royal palace killing the king. How safe are our seat of government, (Castle), Parliament, Ministries, Departments and Agencies?" He urged Ghanaians to learn from the mistakes of other countries and support NADMO in its efforts and preparedness in mitigating disasters.

Mr Ben Brown, Greater Accra Regional Coordinator of NADMO, said 750 million cedis would be needed by NADMO to carry out sensitisation programmes and put in place facilities that would help mitigate the impact of the disaster and provide necessary first aid.

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