The Daily Statesman reported yesterday that the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA) had issued a strong advisory to members of the public, urging them to exercise caution when carrying out developments in areas known to be prone to earthquakes.
According to the report, the Director General of the GGSA, Isaac Mwinbelle, specifically highlighted areas such as Accra, extending from Weija to the hills of Aburi and the Akuapem Range, which is part of the middle belt of the country.
The GGSA Director General emphasised the importance of conducting thorough investigations before commencing any construction projects. He stressed that it was crucial to determine whether an area fell within an active earthquake zone or not.
According to him, it was equally critical that developers investigate the specific site to ensure it was not located on a weak or fault zone. Failure to take these precautions, he indicated, could render structures vulnerable and unable to withstand potential earth movements or disturbances.
Mr Mwinbelle further emphasised the need for responsible development practices, and urged individuals, businesses, and government agencies to prioritise safety when planning and constructing buildings in these high-risk areas, as non-compliance could result in significant loss of lives and property damage.
Indeed, the manner residential structures are springing up on top of the Aburi Mountain, and the Akuapem Range as a whole, is very alarming. The Chronicle, therefore, commends Isaac Mwinbelle for coming out to warn developers to conduct proper investigations before putting up buildings.
A couple of years ago, the rock formation on the Aburi Mountain, especially around the Peduase enclave, started falling apart. The Ministry of Road and Highways, then headed by Alhaji Inusa Fuseini, put in interim measures to hold back the rocks from falling on the road. But because there was no permanent solution to the problem, there were media reports recently that the rocks had started falling on the road again.
This is a serious matter, because apart from the road leading to our Presidential Villa, which is the Peduase Lodge, it is also one of the major entry points to the Eastern Region. Foreign dignitaries who visit this country are sometimes hosted at the Peduase Lodge. One can, therefore, imagine what would happen should any of these foreign dignitaries be involved in an accident in the area.
Though we are not experts, we suspect that the rock formation has started falling apart due to the heavy load on top of the Mountain. About three or so years ago, a landslide buried an entire village in Sierra Leone. Our authorities in Ghana are aware of this disaster, yet they have given permits for people to build residential apartments on top of the Aburi Mountain and surrounding areas.
As if this is not enough, permits have also been given to developers to build right beneath the mountain. This means should there be a landslide, which we pray against, lives and properties are going to be destroyed. At Weija, which is an earthquake-prone area in Accra, people are building on top of the hills surrounding the Weija Dam, yet the authorities concerned are pretending not to have seen the developments coming up.
Clearly, we are sitting on a time bomb, and the day disaster strikes, all of us will be laughing at the wrong side of our mouths. Ghana is governed by rules and regulations, but what is going on at Aburi and Weija clearly shows that our laws are not working, and the earlier we accept this reality and do something about it, the better it would be for the country.