The harmattan amid COVID-19

The Ghana Meteorological Agency, in a terse message on Wednesday, warned that harmattan is expected to intensify over the country.

 A statement issued in Accra said “dust has been raised from the source (around Chad) and is expected to be advocated into the country to deteriorate surface visibility”.

The agency further said “due to the influx of the dry and dusty continental winds, the northern half is expected to be drier with relative humidity of less than 20 per cent and below 50 per cent over parts of the southern sector”.

According to the agency, the intrusion of the dryness would increase the probability of fire outbreaks and therefore advises the general public to be cautious of handling naked fires and careful of the road due to poor visibility.

This is a very important message from the Meteorological Agency, which must be taken seriously by the public.

We know that many may not have taken note of the message because we are not in normal times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is why it makes it dangerous to ignore other natural causes that may affect all of us.

Many road crashes and destruction of property and other valuables have occurred during the harmattan season because we have been negligent or failed to adhere to precautionary measures.

Around this time and as we have been told that the harmattan is intensifying, bush fires can easily occur, which would have enormous impact on the livelihoods of farmers in many parts of the country. Therefore, those living in the hinterlands need to be cautious of handling naked fires.

In much the same way, road users, particularly drivers, need to be careful on the roads as visibility would be impaired by the harmattan.

Already, we are facing a pandemic that is killing people and the least we want is to add another problem which would affect us negatively.

It is, thus, important for all of us to be cautious at this critical time and whilst we observe the health safety protocols, we should also be mindful of what not to do during the harmattan period so that we would all be safe in the country.

We urge the National Commission on Civic Education,  civil society organisations, and other stakeholders to intensify public education on both COVID-19 and the harmattan.

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