Editorial: Is Ghana Ready For An Earthquake?
After Wednesday’s earth tremors that were recorded in most parts of Accra and the subsequent prediction by the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA) of an imminent major earthquake, The Chronicle would want to know how prepared Ghana is, in case of a major earthquake.
The Ghana Geological Survey Authority has disclosed that the earth tremor which rocked parts of Accra yesterday measured a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale. The tremor occurred three times and was felt in the whole of Accra and its environs.
Mr Nicholas Opoku, a Seismologist at the Ghana Geological Survey Authority, is reported to have said the tremor happened three times. He said the first one was the foreshock with a magnitude of 3.7, then the main shock with a magnitude of 4.2, and then the third one was 3.5 – all on the Richter Scale.
Ghana is prone to earthquake disasters which date back to 1615. The nation has had a series of earthquakes from 1636 recorded at Axim in the Western Region, 1862, 1907, and with the worst occurrence in 1939 that resulted in damages to property and loss of lives in Accra. The Greater Accra Region has active fault lines which makes the situation dangerous in the event of movement in the earth.
The Ghana Geological Survey Authority is responsible for the nation’s seismological and geo-environmental matters among others. The Chronicle is calling out the Ghana Geological Survey Authority which has been equipped with seismological equipment for getting signals of impending earthquakes to be up and doing. Unlike the Ghana Meteorological Agency, which, despite its shortcomings, updates Ghanaians with meteorological information, we hardly hear from the Ghana Geological Survey Authority until the nation experiences an earth tremor.
Just after Wednesday’s incident, a flurry of educational information about what one should do or not do before, during, and after earth tremors or earthquakes were flying all over social media especially. In fact, individuals had taken it upon themselves to educate their fellow Ghanaians about the occurrence of earth tremors, and how to be calm in the face of adversity.
The Chronicle believes though the Ghana Geological Survey Authority, like all state institutions, will be crying about inadequate budgetary allocations, we do not think it will cause much to put earthquake educational materials on the various media platforms to help educate and inform us about seismological matters.
Since Ghana is prone to earthquake occurrence, we want to use this opportunity to advise the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to check the haphazard nature of our town and country planning, and to also ensure that estate developers abide by the rules and regulations governing standard building procedures to avoid a major disaster if an earthquake happens. Houses in Japan are built to comply with rigorous earthquake-proof standards that have been set by law.
Even smartphones in Japan are installed with an earthquake emergency alert system, which is triggered around five to ten seconds prior to the impending disaster, to give users time to quickly seek protection, if necessary. Can our science and technology institutions or software developers help us in this light?
This is not rocket science, and we can learn from the Japanese example. Japan has experienced a lot of natural disasters, and in doing so, they’ve become one of the best prepared nations on earth. The ability to innovate, invest, educate, and learn from past mistakes has made Japan the most earthquake-ready country in the world.
The Chronicle is raising these issues not to create fear and panic among the citizenry, but to ignite a national discourse for disaster prevention and management.