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Opinions of Saturday, 21 October 2006

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

How Prepared Are we, For Nature's Attacks?

—Where is our Disaster Emergency Management Administration (DEMA), when our floodgate and the levees open?

Thanks to Al- Qaeda’s ability to take the whole world hostage and the drug scandal in Ghana, which are making everything else a secondary matter.

With the emergence of man-made and nature’s disasters like: Hurricane, tsunamis, Cholera, Bird Flu ,Katrina and earth-quakes I wonder if it’s wise for Ghana to hide its head in the sand and pretend that she’s secured. We live in the global village ,therefore what happens in Asia or Louisiana can have a direct effect in Ghana .So where’s our emergency Management administration (ministry) to manage a catastrophic- pandemic or nature’s disaster? Are we prepared if we were hit by a pandemic or nature’s disaster? The answer: Better planning which could go a long way as insurance and assurance policies against major casualties.

The world’s climate and environmental experts are saying that” global warming are caused by human activities” Nah! Oh, really?(are you serious?) And, that ” we can expect to face melting glaciers and rising sea levels ,warmer ocean temperatures and more intense hurricanes, more frequent droughts and other extreme weather patterns”. Gee, my stomach is bubbling with fear. Well, is the Ghanaian government ready? My guess is as good as yours…….

No! if America wasn’t prepared for Katrina Ghana would be lost in the wind. No nation can prepare one -hundred percent for a nature’s disaster .But, there’s a way out—which is why we need to have our own indigenous PREPAREDNESS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT MINISTRY—to train and practice how to save lives and properties when the ‘TIME’ comes .

In other part of the world, (real world) like Israel and California they have prepared for the ‘Big One’. Not only the citizens have bought earth- quake insurance, (and other insurance for protection) generators, flash lights and secured the foundation of their houses, they have also set aside emergency food and water. The local governments have even created evacuation responders. Schools have created plans to house families whose house would be destroyed, when nature’s disaster strikes. Yes, I said” Schools” .Are you surprised? Well, that is a different world, folks!

I’m not that naïve .I don’t expect us to do everything that they do in the real part of the world. But, the government can create a ministry, department or(oh, heck!) anything with the task of coordinating our firefighters, Police officers, Medical staff, local teachers, civic organizations and transportation owners to prepare for natural disasters. We can also encourage the FM Radio Stations and Cell Phone Network companies to get on board. Ghana is saturated with cell phones and radio stations. So Text massaging system and the airwaves could be used as first lines of defense to save lives.

With the attack on Louisiana by Katrina and the tsunami death toll on Asia, one would have thought that a National Preparedness Team is in the works. And, that it would occupy a permanent place on the list of the National Agenda .Nope! But, it’s so easier to demonstrate in the streets by the opposition parties than fighting for something important like this issue. It’s so easier for the ruling party to get entangled in scandals, instead of finding solutions to our emerging problems, in our part of the world.

So with all the socio-economic trimmings the country is offering to our leaders, policy makers and Parliamentarians, doesn’t she deserve to be cared for and treated humanely?. For once, this issue deserves the attention of men and women, who have a lot to lose (considering their big mansions and other properties) when the ’ Big One’ comes.

For, I would hate to say I ‘told you so, ‘when the floodgates and Levees open and the storm –driven flood takes over our parliament house. Perhaps, the MPs who were going into farming would try fishing instead, for there would be plenty of water to go around. I hope you all know how to swim. Sayoooooo. Good Luck !

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi Nj, USA
* The writer‘s a social commentator, the founder of Adu-Gyamfi Educational Foundation— to offer scholarship, Apprenticeship and entrepreneurship programs for the youth of Asuom


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