Structures that used to be a home, source of livelihood and place of solace for many maysoon be a pile of debris and a pack of wreckage.
The scene may be more gruesome, with an unmistakable stench of decaying corpses but by then, a crisis may have arisen and the time for preparation may have passed.
This is what geologists predict may happen if Ghana fails to put in measures to combat a predicted earthquake.
Aftera tremor that hit Weija and Gbawe in the Ga South Municipality last Sunday, watchers in the sector warn of something much bigger in future.
But according to Senior Seismologist at the Geological Survey Authority (GSA), Mr. Nicholas Opoku, if such should happen, Ghana is not ready to contain the disaster.
“Yes,I will say that at the moment we are unprepared. We are lucky that what happened was not big to have destroyed structures and properties but then, we should take a cue from it and start preparation so that in future when something big happens, we will be safe,” he said on Accra based Joy FM.
In order to avert the impending disaster, Mr. Opoku firstly suggests that, country planners and developers while putting up buildings that are earthquake resistant should also ensure that people do not build along fault lines.
“We need to put up buildings which are resistant to earthquakes like wooden strictures. Wooden structures perform better when the ground shakes,” he said.
Mr. Opoku insists that just as building on waterways is non-negotiable, the country’s fault lines must not be tampered with.
Beyond building proper structures, the Seismologist called for the setup of a well-equipped team that will respond quickly to natural disasters.
This response team, he said will be trained to handle earthquake situations adding that, “quick response will save lives.”
Poor warning system
Sunday’s tremor suggests to the entire Ghanaian populace that the country is lagging behind: it has no early warning system.
Though the GGSA said it had picked information about the expected tremor days before its occurrence, residents in the affected area did not have a hint until the quake happened.
Seismologists, suggest with early warning, the scale of damage can be bearable.
Japan amongst other prone countries boasts of systems to warn residents of looming quakes.
In Mexico for instance, alerts allowed residents to rush out of building and to seek refuge before an 8.2 magnitude quake shook the country, last year.
But in Ghana today, even insistent power cuts continue to inhibit the proper monitoring of tremors.
To mitigate this pitfall, Government has so far only approved the installation of Solar Power at the authority’s Seismic Observatory.
Contributing to issues arising, renowned architect and member of the Designed Network for Economic Development, Esinam Achia Jamson said, continuous tremors within the earth crust, could trigger other natural disasters.
“People have not begun to actually visibly imagine the seriousness of this. Just one building collapsing, will cause a lot of building down those hills (Marcarthy) to collapse as well,” she posited.
She continued: “We have possible earthquake magnitude spread over Ghana… Accra being below sea level means there could be a tsunami which can cause serious devastation.”
Earthquakes have been known to trigger tsunamis by unleashing underwater landslides, which also displace huge amounts of seawater.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org