Tourism Minister declares Kintampo Waterfall safe

Ms Catherine Afeku

Ms Catherine Afeku

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku, has declared the Kintampo Waterfall safe to host tourists.
According to her, following the disaster that claimed at least 20 lives in March 2017, her outfit had put in place measures to avoid a recurrence.

On the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday, Madam Catherine Afeku said all should feel safe and patronise the waterfall.

Her declaration followed the presentation of a report on the disaster by the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism into the accident.

The committee was tasked to ascertain the cause of the disaster, preventive measures to avert same in future and lessons learnt from it to promote tourism in Ghana.

Presenting the report of the committee, which had been adopted by the House yesterday, Mr Ato Panford, Deputy Chairman of the committee, enumerated some of the causes of the tragedy.

He said activities of encroachers along the tributaries of the waterfall, in clearing their land for farming purposes set fire which destroyed the vegetational cover along the water body.

“The committee observed with dissatisfaction the absence of a Sub-Meteorology Office at the time of the incident which could have informed revellers about changes in the weather at the facility,” he noted as one of the causative factors of the disaster.

Mr Panford added that there was no emergency preparedness team on site to respond to emergency situations, observing that “most lives could have been saved, if an emergency preparedness team was in place.”

On structural defect, Mr Panford, the MP for Shama said that “at the time of the accident, there was only one staircase for both exit and entry to the waterfall,” adding that “the staircase which was already too steep and narrow had become slippery as a result of the rain.”

On preventive measures to control bushfires and tree management, the committee recommended that a fence wall was erected to serve as a boundary to restrict the movement of unwanted persons into the perimeters of the waterfall.

It, among others, wants a fire belt, by way of fire resistant plants planted around the facility, routine checks on trees, education and legislation to act as a deterrent to persons engaging in farming activities that leads to bushfires in the waterfalls area and its environs.

The committee recommended that the Ghana Tourism Authority engaged the services of Safety Health and Environmental Officers to brief revellers on safety issues and provide the necessary safety tips before the commencement of a tour of the facility.

The minister, Catherine Afeku, said she had taken note of all observations and recommendations contained in the committee’s report, and was acting accordingly, for the good of the tourism sector.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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