A three-day intensive workshop on earthquake preparedness has ended at a colourful but brief ceremony at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) in Accra.
The exercise which began on Monday March 12, 2018, was organised jointly by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in collaboration with other stakeholders and development partners.
The stakeholders forum which was geared toward knowing the capabilities of various agencies in terms of response should an earthquake occur in Ghana, brought together representatives from the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Ambulance Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Police Service, The Geological Services Department and the Information Services Department amongst others. Deliberations were based mainly on dialoging in preparation ahead of a full scale simulation exercise scheduled for May this year.
The Director-General of NADMO, Hon. Eric Nana Agyeman-Prempeh in a welcome address noted that the relationship between NADMO and its development partners, namely, North Dakota National Guard and the United States Africa Command have helped NADMO and its stakeholders to benefit from countless training programmes in emergency operations especially in the area of floods and fires. He therefore called for stronger collaboration so as to further cement the cordial relationship between NADMO and its partners.
As part of activities for the forum, a table-top simulation exercise was organised to help prepare participating agencies ahead of the full scale exercise scheduled to take place later this year.
Hon. Ambrose Dery, Minister for the Interior, in his speech stated that the last destructive earthquake that occurred in Ghana was in 1939 at 7:22 pm and that most parts of Accra got affected. The population of the city then was seventy-seven thousand (77,000), adding seventeen (17) lives were lost to that earthquake. He urged agencies and partners present at the ceremony to discuss and critically analyse key issues relating to the subject so as to help design a comprehensive document on earthquakes.
To this end, he directed NADMO to submit a report with recommendations to the Ministry to help prepare a policy document for cabinet for consideration. This, he said, would go a long way to help Ghana prepare better to contain mass casualty events should an earthquake occur anywhere within the territorial boundaries of the country. “There is no other option than to build a nation resilient to disasters and all of us have statutory or moral obligation to play a role’’. He noted.
US AFRICOM for its part, pledged to sponsor the full scale simulation exercise with facilitation from the North Dakota National Guard.
The forum ended with a Table Top Simulation exercise to test the ability of the agencies to hold a successful exercise later in the year.
Closing the ceremony Mr. Seji Saji, Deputy Director General Technical and Reforms, expressed appreciation to the North Dakota National Guard and the US AFRICOM for their support and challenged the participants to keep working hard to save life and property in times of emergencies.
Source: Lambert Donkor