Jubilee House, Akosombo Dam, KIA sitting on potential time bomb
The seat of the nation’s Presidency, Jubilee House, is among other key state installations the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has indicated are on the West African earthquake fault zone.
The others include the Tema Harbour, Kotoka International Airport, Akosombo Dam, installations which are housed in four regions.
The Director-General of NADMO, Eric Nana Agyemang, revealed these on Thursday, April 8, 2021, at a stakeholder conference on earthquakes and Ghana.
The conference, which had President Akufo-Addo in attendance, was to deliberate on the report by a special committee which was tasked to develop a comprehensive framework for ‘Refocusing National Earthquake Preparedness and Response’ within the country.
Just at the end of the opening ceremony, the NADMO boss said that Ghana last experienced an earthquake some eight decades ago.
Speaking specifically on the danger an earthquake could pose to the nation’s key installations, Nana Agyemang said: “The West African earthquake fault zone in Ghana gets to Ho, moves through Eastern Region and through Greater Accra to Nyanyano in the Central Region.”
He continued: “It is bewildering to know that almost all critical state infrastructures are on the fault line – namely; Tema Harbour, Kotoka International Airport, Akosombo Dam, Weija Dam and unfortunately our Jubilee House.”
Explaining further, Nana Agyemang told a journalist in an interview on the sidelines that the earth tremors experienced recently in some parts of the country were signs of an impending earthquake.
He, however, allayed the fears of Ghanaians and gave the assurance that the government was instituting measures aimed at mitigating the impact of earthquakes in the event that they occur.
He reserved special praise for President Akufo-Addo for his dedication and commitment to ensuring that the country is earthquake resilient.
“Certainly, investing in earthquake resilience will be worth all efforts. That is why, Mr President, your demonstrations and such zeal and commitment beyond compare marvel us so much,” he concluded.
President issues directives
On the other hand, President Akufo-Addo in his address at the conference issued a number of directives to Ministries, Departments and Agencies in response to the report compiled by the committee of experts tasked to assess the country’s state of preparedness for the occurrence of earthquakes.
President Akufo-Addo endorsing the committee’s report and recommendations explained the reason for the set up.
According to him, the series of earth tremors experienced by the country in recent times, coupled with the confirmation that Ghana is susceptible to earthquakes along the southern belt and the Akwapim-Togo Range, resulted in the establishment of a Technical Committee.
He noted that it is the collapse of structures during earthquakes that is responsible for human and economic losses, indicating that in the event of an earthquake, knowing what to do was crucial to survival.
“This means that to avoid or reduce these losses, we need to ensure that buildings, including dwellings, dams and bridges, are structurally competent and resilient to earthquakes of a higher magnitude,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said that constructing well-engineered structures, including dams and roads, and retrofitting important lifeline buildings, such as hospitals, schools, churches, and mosques, cannot be compromised.
As such, he urged the Engineering Council of the Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that a comprehensive integrity audit of all public buildings and structures is conducted, and the government appropriately advised.
The President also urged the Ghana Geological Survey Authority to advise the government on the logistical needs and equipment required by the Authority to undertake round the clock monitoring of seismic activities for urgent action.
“I have already instructed the leadership of NADMO to liaise with the Ghana Education Service to help incorporate learning themes on protection against earthquakes and other disasters in the curricula at the pre-tertiary education level. Again, I have encouraged NADMO to embark on a sustained education campaign for the entire population, in this regard. I have requested regular updates from the Director-General of NADMO on progress made,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
To the Ministries of Works and Housing and Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, the President urged them to collaborate with the Ghana Institution of Engineers to develop a scheme that will entail home-owners retrofitting their homes to make them resistant to earthquakes, and compelling prospective home-owners to build in accordance with defined standards.