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Accra Sits On a Ticking Geological Time Bomb And Government Could Care Less

Our national capital, Accra, the nerve center of our financial and political activities, is sitting on a time-bomb, a geological time-bomb, that is, and it is apparent that no one, least of all, the proper authorities seem remotely interested. It has just been lip service and nothing substantial done to prepare Ghanaians for the big one.

The only time, authorities will spring into action is when the damage has already been done and thousands die needless deaths and hundreds more suffer catastrophic injuries.

According to the Geological Survey Authority, Accra sits astride a geological fault line and this, the Authority claims, could erupt at any given moment and send the city into a space it has never seen before — untold hardships and an uncertain future.

And there have been warning signs that the big one – earthquake– is getting perilously close. A noticeable increase in the number of tremors with the recent ones occurring earlier last month in Accra are mounting evidence that something cataclysmic will happen.

This is not the first time Accra has been hit by tremors. These fright-inducing, bone rattling shakes began long before we threw the British out and to date one cannot to point to an elaborate program, or an advance warning system that authorities have put in place to mitigate the effects of an earthquake if and when we get one.

I remember vividly in the mid 2000’s on a visit home, in Accra and being woken up in the middle of the night by a series of severe rattling. The building shook violently for a brief second, and then it was all quite again.

The next day, I monitored the media to see if there would be some substantial and detailed account of what happened last night. Nothing of that sort took place; the media paid scant attention to what could easily have been a disastrous night for residents of the neighborhoods hit by the tremors.

Worse, there was nary a peep from authorities. Everyone was asleep at the switch.  Nobody took the responsibility to inform and educate Ghanaians on something so serious that it could have fundamentally alter their lives.

Look at our weak and lackluster response to flooding in Accra and elsewhere in the country and you see the picture I am trying to draw.

Against this background, the lingering questions on the minds of many are simply these: will authorities be ready when disaster strikes, when the earthquake comes? Is the National Disaster Management Organization well-resourced to provide the necessary services when the need arises?

Why haven’t practice drills of evacuation of the injured and the dead with the police, fire service, army, Red Cross and disaster organizations conducted to familiarize them with basic ideas of what to do?

Given the reaction of authorities to the recent tremors, one is compelled to reach the conclusion that nothing serious is being done to address the complacency about earthquakes that continues to plague the country.

The hope is that we will get pass this stage of utter disinterest and put things in order when the “big one” finally comes crushing down on us.

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