Earthquake preparedness demands action!!

 The Ghana Geologi­cal Survey Authority (GGSA) has con­firmed an earth tremor that hit parts of the Greater Ac­cra Region and was slightly felt in parts of Accra in the early hours of yesterday.

The earthquake was said to be of low or moderate inten­sity as it measured 2.8 on the Richter scale with its epicen­tre located 1.5km offshore near James Town in Accra.

Media reports said the tremor was slightly felt in High Street, Ridge and some other parts of Accra Central around 9:49 a.m.

According to them, the tremor, slightly felt in High Street, Ridge and some other parts of Accra Central, around 9:49 a.m. was second following a December 12, 2022 one.

Whether tremors or full-blown earthquakes, these seismic activities have hit the country since 1862, with the 1939 one measuring 6.6 and hitting only Accra so far being the most fatal as it killed at least 17 people and as well injured 133.

We are making this historical reference to establish the fact that the country can suffer a serious earthquake one day and that Accra seems to be most prone to it, judging from the fact that the country’s capital city has suffered most of the earthquakes or tremors.

Even though only the 1862 and 1939 earth­quakes were fatal, that must not make the coun­try think that all is well.

Earthquakes are natural occurrences that are diffi­cult to predict, especially with reference to when exactly they will occur and their magnitudes, events leading to them can be monitored and the public informed appropriately to ensure public safety and minimise risk.

We believe in the GGSA but it cannot do much if it lacks the necessary facil­ities, knowledge and skills.

We therefore echo the Authority’s request for US$200 million invest­ment to establish a na­tional seismic network for enhanced earthquake monitoring and provide real-time seismic data to ensure the safety of the citizenry.

But is that education enough to avoid devasta­tion should there occur any serious earthquake?

The country has to do more, hence the public must be interested in the so-described robust earthquake preparedness strategy the country has put together, which the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, announced in a media briefing on February 28, 2023.

According to him, the government was working around the clock to ensure that the country would be able to withstand natural di­sasters, including earthquakes, should they occur.

What are the contents of that robust earthquake pre­paredness strategy to support the government efforts?

Is the government going to change how communities are currently planned in which case most of them are so built up that space to assem­ble is even a problem?

What about the integrity of structures in the country? This is important because the recent earthquakes in Turkey, for example, have exposed shoddiness in that country’s building sector. Can we have a different but better story?

It is about the time to contact Japan for expertise to have structures that can ac­tually withstand earthquakes just in case.

We need to act rather than just talk.

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