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General News of Thursday, 16 June 2016

Source: aL-hAJJ

Accra awaits worst disaster

Accra seems ill-prepared to cope with large-scale emergencies Accra seems ill-prepared to cope with large-scale emergencies

The devastating perennial flood situation in Ghana’s capital, Accra, which has mostly led to loss of lives and valuable properties, is just a fraction of looming disaster awaiting the oil and cocoa producing West Africa nation in the immediate future, a expert in Town and Country Planning has observed.

According to the development expert the annual flooding in the country, though distressing, is not as life threatening to the populace as Ghana’s inadequate emergency response arrangement in the event of large-scale disaster

“I agree that the flooding has caused havoc to some of us, but to tell you the truth, that is just a tip of the iceberg…we are sitting on time bomb as a country. The whole of Accra, in particular, is choked especially when it rains. So you ask yourself, in the midst of this choked city, if there should be a natural disaster like volcanic eruption, tsunami, major earthquake; fire among others, can we contain it?” the expert who does want to be named told The aL-hAJJ in an exclusive interview.

He added that what has also compounded Ghana’s situation is that “aside our defective emergency response measures which make evacuation near impossible in the event of a disaster is that; there are no access routes in Accra.

All the roads are so choked, especially during rush hours that, ambulances, fire service tankers, emergency response vehicles may find it difficult reaching sites let alone to be able to convey victims to nearby hospitals…worse of all, volunteers and rescuers may not even be able to gain access to where the disaster occurred.”

“If a disaster like the Fukushima nuclear disaster which rocked Japan or 8.3 magnitude earthquake which hit Chile in 2015 should happened in Ghana, those who will die during evacuation will even be more that the actual number of people to die as a result of the disaster. The country will be hapless in that regard because there are no enough access roads and even the existing ones are always congested,” he noted.

The Development Expert stated that the looming danger is apparent whenever it rains in Accra, “all the roads linking the motorway are congested. The N1 too is mostly flooded and congested at some intersection. The Mallam Junction-Kasoa-Winneba road is even worse; it is mostly turned into one-lane at the tollbooth and Mallam Junction itself is always flooded…so we are living under an unsafe condition.”

The development expert’s worrying concern comes at a time the country is battling how to control flooding, especially in Accra, which has become an annual occurrence. Last year, a similar problem at Kwame Nkrumah Circle claimed over 150 lives.

A year after, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and other parts of the country is getting flooded again, leaving many to wonder if government’s promise to find lasting solution to the yearly problem was a “political talk.”

But the Development Expert said “we cannot continue to pay lip service to some of these things because it is very serious. We cannot wait for disaster to strike before we begin to act. We cannot contain some of these disasters so we have to put in measures to avoid them.”

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