You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2019 04 26Article 741590

Opinions of Friday, 26 April 2019

Columnist: asemapanews.com

3 alternatives to minimize annual market fires – JB Danquah writes

I learned with great sadness, the destruction of property and livelihoods of many traders and artisans by fire at the Kumasi Central Market and Asafo Market in quick succession. My thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families that have been affected by these tragedies.

As a concerned citizen and a native of Subin, it is of deep concern to me that these market infernos have almost become annual rituals within the commercial centers of Kumasi, and indeed all major market centers in the country.

We as a nation, over the years, have not done a great job in providing structures and policies that can help reduce the occurrence of such infernos or minimize their impact on the livelihoods of affected families when they do occur.

I am sure, that by now, politicians have toured the fire-gutted markets, just for photo-op; and as usual, no new proposals will be made to forestall future occurrences, nor institute any new measures aimed at mitigating the impact of the inferno on livelihoods.

I believe strongly that an integrated fire management approach through a collaborative effort of all key stakeholders in the market (such as the traders associations, KMA, traditional rulers, Civil society organizations etc.) should be looked at and resources pulled together to work on some of these recommendations that I am proposing:

1: Provide targeted, but intensive training on fire hazards and prevention to traders and artisans in crowded market centers. Certificate of completion of such training exercise must be a requirement for any trader or artisan to operate in such market centers.

2: Elect Fire champions who will receive more advanced training and act as an extra eye for the fire service. They will be able to detect potential fire hazards and act proactively to prevent the kind of infernos we have been seeing in recent years.

3: Offer cooperative insurance schemes that will mitigate the economic impact of such disasters on the livelihoods of affected traders and artisans.

These recommendations must be in addition to existing government plans to reconstruct/renovate major market centers to minimize congestion.

Columnist: Joseph Boakye Danquah