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Danger: Earthquake looms; but Geological Survey Authority can’t predict when

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Recent events point to the fact that earthquake appears imminent in Ghana, but the country looks very much unprepared to tell when the natural disaster will strike, the experts have said.

This is despite the fact that the Ghana Geological Survey Authority has eight seismic stations across the country that are supposed to transmit signal timely to the Authority for processing, in order to warn the nation ahead of impending disaster.

Sadly, the Ghana Digital Seismic Network (GDSN) installed in 2012 is not fully functional, Nicholas Opoku, Senior Seismologist at the Ghana Geological Survey Authority explained to 3news.com.

Service Agreement

The stations, he said, have not been completely hooked onto a Seismic Monitoring Network due to Ghana’s failure to reach a service agreement with a service provider to supply the needed equipment to ensure that everything works perfectly.

Nicholas Opoku

This, Mr. Opoku explained, is a “specialised equipment that you can’t find on the market that when there is a breakdown you can easily go and buy and fix hence the need for the service agreement”.

Peanut

But 3news.com has gathered that there has been back and forth on the service agreement with Nanometrics Inc. Canada, the company that is supposed to provide the equipment that is said to cost around $200,000.

Though Mr. Nicholas Opoku would not deny or confirm the figure, he indicated that the amount involved “is weighing the Authority’s budget, but for the state this is peanut”.

Once there is a service agreement in place, as soon as Ghana has a problem they would be at hand to rectify it, he underscored.

He feared if government does not come to their aid as soon as possible, the impending disaster that has already given warnings by way of earth tremors in March would have a dire and unforgettable consequence on the nation.

The eight seismic stations dotted in the country are located at:  Weija, Accra; Saltpond, Central; Asankragua, Ashanti; and Mroatuo (Lake Bosumtwi), Ashanti. The rest are: kukuramtumi, Eastern; Shai Hill, Accra; Akosombo, Eastern; and Ho, Volta.

The stations are supposed to send satellite information to the Central Recording Station of Ghana Geological Survey Authority opposite GIMPA in Accra.

Government assurance

Meanwhile, he said the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has communicated to the Authority on Tuesday that government would work around the clock to get the service agreement sealed.

Ghana’s severest earthquake was on June 22, 1939, with a magnitude of 6.4. The Weija enclave, precisely Gbawe, was in the news again 28 years ago with two earthquakes: the first, measuring 3.1 in magnitude and 10 kilometres in depth, which occurred at 11:43 a.m. on April 14, 1990, while the second, which measured 2.7 in magnitude and 10 kilometres in depth, occurred at 1:34 a.m. on February 12, 1990, 1.2 kilometres from the community.

Meanwhile, residents of Weija, Gbawe, and adjoining communities are terrified following warnings that earth tremors which hit the communities two weeks ago are a sign of an imminent earthquake.

On March 24, 2018  three earth tremors hit parts of Weija, Gbawe , McCarthy Hill, and the Nyanyano enclave.  The first two happened at 3:09 a.m and at  3:41 a.m., with the third  occurring at 11:31 a.m same day.

According Mr. Opoku, following report on the latest tremors, the Authority went round the seismic stations to collate data for analyzing, but it was realised that because some of them have not received the necessary servicing for years they were malfunctioning and therefore could not get any meaningful data from them.

In his assessment, the Senior Seismologist confirmed that Ghana is not prepared for any earthquake. He was worried about the kind of structures that have been put up without proper engineering work being put in place. He cited the numerous collapsed buildings in the country to indicate how disastrous it would be, should earthquake strike anytime soon.

He said although his outfit would be able to advice on the vulnerability of lands, it is up to town planners and engineers to advice on the appropriate structure and material that should be used to build on a particular piece of land.

Nicholas Opoku is therefore calling for a national policy on building so people don’t build anyhow especially on earthquake zones.

By Isaac Essel |3news.com | Ghana

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