It was 5:PM and nature decided to exercise its might on the Haitian field, the result is the epic disaster never witnessed in the annals of United Nations Disaster Relief history. The magnitude of the earthquake registered at 7.2 and the death toll is estimated to reach between 100,000 to 200,000. More than half a million of Port-Au-Prince inhabitants are injured and more than two million rendered homeless.
After being glued to my T.V for countless hours watching lifeless babies being pulled from the rubbles of the concrete slabs, a thought occured to me; can this happen in Ghana and if it does, are we prepared for it?
What are the similarities between Haiti and Ghana in our preparation to manage disasters?
1. Port-Au-Prince, the capital of Haiti has the only functional International Airport in Haiti that can accomodate the huge Aircrafts bringing relief supplies to the Haitians which is making it difficult for the international community to assist the Haitians. The Airport at their second largest city, Cap-Haitian International Airport runway is too short to allow the huge Aircrafts to land there. Ghana is in a similar situation with only one Airport that can assist in time of need. If an earthquake like the one that destroyed Port-Au-Prince hit Accra and destroy Kotoka International Airport, our situation would be worse than that of Haiti because we are further away from the source of Help(USA, BRITAIN,GERMANY AND OTHER COUNTRIES)
2.The Earthquake destroyed the Haiti government when all the functional Central government buildings and communication systems were destroyed. Now Haiti has become an International managed country without a government of its own People because of the bonehead decision by the Haitians to center everything in the Capital of Port-Au-Prince as we continue to do in Ghana. May God prevent such a disaster ever happening to ACCRA and that of Ghana or else, we would become a vassal state to the UN. What can we do now?
1. Ghana with a Population of 24 million at least need one more International Airport and it doesn't matter where it is built, Tamale, Takoradi, Kumasi or Sunyani, this is needed now, not next year or the year after. President Mills can leave us a legacy to remember him with if he can bring an international Airport dream to a reality..As People, we should close ranks when it comes to holding our Politicians responsible irrespective of what Party we are affiliated with. Most of our Politicians, both in NDC and NPP hold resident permits to other countries and in time of need, these are the People who would fly their relatives out of the country to seek medical help.This is happening in Haiti, most of the Politicians are now out of the country with their families seeking medical attention while the hoi polloi are left to their fate.
2.We have to decentralise our government. I know we are not in a position like Nigeria to build another Abuja to seperate our Political capital from our Economic capital but we can develop one of the existing cities to take some of the load from Accra. Our neighbor, IVORY COAST has done this successfully with Abidjan and Yamourasakro.
3.We also need to equip our Hospitals in all the regions to be able to handle acute and trauma care. At least we can equip one Hospital from each region to handle an Emergency like Earthquake. It's about time our leaders start thinking like educated human beings and have sympathy for the less privileged in society instead of building mansions and aquiring four wheel drive trucks to impress their girlfriends and boyfriends and lord it over the poor Joe Six packs. We should hold these Politicians feet to the fire so that they do the right thing with their conscience being their own secret Police.
Source: Justice Sarpong Houston, Texas.
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