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24.11.2004 Disaster

Disaster response the way forward - NADMO

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Accra, Nov. 24, GNA - The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) on Wednesday said it was charting the path of disaster response and preparedness as a way of reducing risks and vulnerability to hazards", Brigadier-General Joseph Odei (Rtd), National Coordinator of NADMO said.

Speaking at a day's seminar for selected personnel from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Accra, he said in conformity with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, NADMO and her collaborators had started a year-long sensitisation programmes on earthquakes and its secondary disaster of structural fires.

The programmes, he noted, were to create the awareness on the need to start preparing for earthquakes with the view to minimising causalities and fatalities.

He said the theme for the seminar: "Disaster Management in the Workplace: Prevention Pays" was ideal and called on participating institutions to come out with a well-rehearsed workplace disaster management plan for safety.

Mr John Agyei Duodu, Deputy Director of the Geological Survey Department, who presented a paper on: "Earthquakes Risk in Ghana, A Reality " said the first earthquake was recorded in Axim in the Western Region in 1636 where workers of a gold mine were buried.

He said from 1862 - 1938, there were serious tremors in Accra, Tema and the Eastern parts of the country and in 1939 there was an earthquake, which recorded a magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter Scale resulting in the death of 17 people, with 1,350 others being injured and property damaged valued at a million pound sterling.

The pattern since 1964 had been similar with tremors in 1969, 1997 and in 2003 meaning that some parts of the country were prone to earthquakes with a probable epicentre around the McCarthy Hill in Accra. He noted that because the country records low frequencies people ignore warnings.

Mr Agyei Duodu said earthquakes could not be predicted and, therefore, advised the public to take the necessary precautions that from time to time were published in the media.

Mr Joseph Pinkrah, a Geotechnical Consultant, urged the public to engage the services of professionals when putting up buildings especially in earthquake prone areas.

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