The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), in the Cape Coast Metropolis has activated its disaster prevention plans to effectively reduce the incidence of disasters as the rains set in.
The plan is in line with their strategic objective to ensure disaster prevention, risk and vulnerability reduction, as a means of minimising the impact of human and natural disasters on the society.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, in Cape Coast, Mr Kwame Odame, Head of Disaster appealed to the public to co-operate in the handling of environmental issues to significantly reduce human induced disasters.
The strategy encompasses strict monitoring and early warning systems to aid the identification of disasters in their formative stages, to disseminate timely information and warning, and hazard/disaster awareness creation.
It also involves re-awakening of disaster volunteer clubs in schools, communities and institutions, intensification of public education in communities and media and mapping of flood-prone communities to avert disasters.
Mr Odame stated that his outfit had identified some disaster prone areas in the Metropolis to include; Nkanfoa, Nkanfoa new site, Abura, Ayifua, Kakumdo new site, Mempeasem, Abakam-Duakor, Amamoma, Apewosika, Adisadel village, and north Ola/Ameen Sangari.
In all of these communities, he explained that NADMO had noticed the absence of proper drainage systems, small existing coverts, and encroachment on valleys, fence walls and buildings on waterways, poor building layout, silted storm and earth drains as well as uncompleted or abandoned road construction as major contributory factors.
To be on the safer side, the disaster prevention organisation advised the general public in those communities to move to the designated safe areas dubbed “safe havens” to prevent avoidable loss of lives and property.
The safe havens include; old Methodist church, Nkanfoa Methodist church, Christ the King Academy, Harrison and Wesley Girls school parks, St. Mary Anglican school, ICGC church and Church of Latter-Day Saints all in Nkanfoa, Abura, Ayifoa and Kakumdo.
The rest were; faculty of science block, UCC, University Junior High, University hospital and administration forecourts and halls, Adisadel college, OLA Methodist church, workers college and Saint Augustine College also at Amamoma, Apewosika, Adisadel village and North OLA.
In the medium to long term, Mr Odame indicated that together with stakeholders they would constantly engage the community people, construct and desilt drains, prune vegetation, public education and demolition of buildings on waterways.
This, he stated would be achieved with support from the Cape Coast Municipal Assembly (CCMA), Ghana Police Service, Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Ambulance Service, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Red Cross, Agricultural Service and the Hydrological department.
The Head of Disaster expressed dissatisfaction at people’s attitudes towards his outfit in handling disaster cases and said public forums were being organised to address the challenge and called on decentralised agencies and institutions such as the Ghana Police Service, utility providers, Ambulance service, Building Inspection Unit, Town and Country Planning Department as well as the Environmental Health Unit to consult and engage NADMO in their operations.
He pointed out the need for all to work collaboratively to ensure the construction of buildings at appropriate sites to curb the seasonal floods and request for help.
He noted that, the organisation had silted many waterlogged areas and drains especially the drains receptacles of the Kakum River which usually flood many parts of the Metropolis.
The NADMO Metro Disaster officer advised owners of high rise buildings, to install fire suppression systems, which was the most current method for curbing fire outbreaks and warned all tenants and Landlords occupying old and dilapidated structures to leave to protect and save their lives.
On fire preventions, Mr Odame asked the public to avoid overloading sockets, and advised that all gadgets should be put off when not in use and in their absence especially during the period of load shedding to prevent fire disasters
He also asked Landlords and other property owners to have fire extinguishers in their premises and ensure that the equipment were functional through regular servicing.