Road accidents, flooding, earth quakes, fire outbreaks and others are all disasters that occur in either our homes or work places. Most which are caused by man and others as a result of natural occurrence. Most of the manmade disasters can be prevented and also those with the effect of natural ones can be reduce or made less serious when s

Ghana National Fire Service
Ghana National Fire Service
tringent measures are put in place.

Ghana over the past years has set up many institutions which include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ghana Fire Service, NADMO, NPA, NRC, Ambulance Service and others to help control these disasters.

The EPA is an agency of the Ghana’s Ministry of environment, science and technology and innovation established by the EPA act 490 (1994) and oversees the implementation of the National Environment Policy. The EPA’s mission is to manage, protect and enhance the countries global solutions on environmental problems. The major activities of the EPA are to educate the public about the environment, to conduct both environmental impact assessment and strategic environment assessment, monitor the activities of industry and mines, reporting the state of the environment and also to research on environmental stability. Before most industries or organizations would be given permit to operate, it is the responsibility of the EPA to carry out environmental impact assessment and strategic environment assessment to make sure these organizations would not cause harm to the environment. What actually happens on the ground is that all of these are not carried out and yet those industries are permitted to operate. This occurs because the EPA has no over sight body to make sure they conduct their activities properly.

Not to remind Ghanaians of the sad event of June 3rd, 2015, but the 5 member committee that was set up to investigate the cause of this disaster recommended that there should be a complete dredging of the Odaw drain because it had been choked with waste mostly of plastic nature. They further suggested a ban on the use of plastic materials because they are non degradable and has environmental consequences. They also recommended a standardized training, certification and licensing of filling stations and their attendants should be carried out. This certification was supposed to have been completed by the EPA before the stations could be built. So the question is where have we gotten to?

Another institution responsible for our safety is the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), formed in 1996 responsible for managements of disasters as well as other emergencies in the country under the ministry of interior. They provide rehabilitation services to the victims, ensuring preparedness of the country in the management of disasters, coordination of the various governmental and nongovernmental agencies in the management of disasters. The organizations mandate includes responses to earth quakes, floods rainstorms market fires.
The major challenge faced by NADMO is the lack of adequate resources to function effectively. This challenge is highlighted in march 2011 when the arrival of 16700 Ghanaian returnees from Libya and 7000 from the cote d’ivoire . Budget allocations to the organisation is nothing to write home about, they rely sometimes on other benevolent organisations and philanthropist in times of emergencies. NADMO is fast becoming a white elephant. At the district level, one could hardly find relief items or seek support from the said district offices.

The Ghana National Fire and rescue Service which is under the Ministry of Interior performs the following functions creates and sustains the awareness of the hazards of fire and heighten the role of the individual in prevention of fires, inspects and provides technical assistance in fire management, offer rescue and evacuation services to those trapped by fire and in other emergency situations. Ghana has recorded 2469 incidents of fire out breaks within the first quarter of this year as against 2038 within the same period in the last year representing 21.27% increase. Just recently Ghana has recorded 6 deaths due to fire outbreaks around the trade fair entre in Accra as a result of fire outburst in one of the filling stations. A report by Mr. Michael Yarquah (Media house) says that the fire service would continuously take tough measures against filling stations that are flouting the laws of the nation. This exposes the weakness of the service.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?

Most of the agencies and stakeholders responsible for controlling disasters in the country have the same challenges preventing them from performing effectively. Inadequate Logistics, high government influence, understaffed personnel and poor supervision.

Eagle Eye International strongly believe that the establishment of an autonomous authority, named NATIONAL SAFETY AUTHORITY, deriving it’s powers from an act of parliament or a constitutional instruments or any other legislation with its funding clearly stated in the legislation. The body would serve as an oversight to the major stakeholders where the already existing agencies like the NADMO, EPA, NPA, ambulance service, Road commission etc shall be a department under the authority in providing safety in the country. Creation of an oversight would ensure that all activities undertaken would be accounted for. The Authority would also contribute to development of the country in instances where it brings to a halt or reduces the impact of disasters in the country.

Like the National Identification Authority which in the future will regulate the birth and death, electoral commission, DVLA, GRA and the passport office same should be for the National Safety Authority.

By: Eagle Eye International

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