The National Disaster and Management Organisation (NADMO) has implored Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to protect open spaces for emergency cases.
According to the Director-General of NADMO, Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, open spaces which serve as places where people may converge in times of emergencies had been playgrounds, especially for public schools had been converted to Astro turfs and in some cases with buildings.
“Tents and temporary structures may be mounted there as shelter, unfortunately, Accra is deplete of such spaces which are most needed in an earthquake situation,” he added
He said this at the launch of simulation exercise Lignite Coast preparedness 2022 dubbed ‘ExerciseShikponWosomo.’
The four-day earthquake simulation exercise is aimed at testing Ghana’s response readiness, capabilities and capacities.
It was organised by NADMO in collaboration with United States of America (North Dakota National Guard)and would also simulate other secondary events like gas explosion and slope failure.
He appealed to the Ministry of Education to stem the practice that made such grounds inaccessible for public use.
The Director General said that Ghana was not immune to earthquake events, “Indeed, the country experienced the first event in recorded history in 1615 and subsequently suffered several quakes. History informs us that in 1936 an earthquake badly shook part of Western region which buried some miners alive at Nzema area,” he recounted.
He said in 2019,a swarm of earth tremors occurred with epicenters mostly in the Greater Accra Region which had raised apprehension in the country, adding that the government took a proactive step by establishing a technical committee to prepare a framework for refocusing Ghana’s earthquake preparedness and response.
“When earthquakes are mentioned, we are reminded of that sad occurrences in Haiti in 2010 where over 250,000 lives were lost, more than 300,000 people got injured and five million or more people displaced,”he said
The North Dakota Adjutant General and Director of Emergency Service, Major General Al Dohrmann in his remarks stressed the need for responsive agencies to be ready for all emergency cases.
“Our job is a first response and we need to be proactive in and be prepared for every emergency,” he said.
Major Jarrod Simek of the United States Embassy (US) Office of Security Co-operation stated that current natural disaster happening around the world was a wakeup call for all.
He stressed the need for all hands on deck to prepare for any emergencies.
Major Simek stated that the relationship between NADMO and the and the office dates back fifteen years ago.
In attendance included the Chief Fire Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, Julius Kuunor Aalebkure, the Director General of Joint Operations at the Army Headquarters, Brigadier Mahama Abdulai and Executive Director National Ambulance Service, Dr Ahmed Zakariah and personnel from the Ghana Police Service, Togo and Benin and the Ghana Health Service.