Researcher advocates for policy to make buildings withstand earthquakes

Dr. Paulina Amponsah, Researcher at the National Data Centre of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission has called on government to design policy guidelines on the construction of buildings to ensure that they withstand earthquakes.

She said the development as well as concentration of facilities in Accra which was seismically active required that there was such a policy and which would be strictly complied with to ensure that the country did not lose most of her investment should an earthquake of high magnitude strike.

Dr. Paulina Amponsah made the call when she delivered a lecture on the topic “What you know about earthquakes” at a public forum organised by the National Forum for Research, Science and Technology (NFRST) in Accra.

According to her, specific safety measures in the design and construction of new facilities must be ensured while existing structures retrofitted to mitigate the impact of earthquakes whose occurrence was unpredictable.

She said the whole of the country’s eastern portion was earthquake prone adding that this called for proactive planning to ensure that area became resilient to natural, man-made and technological disasters.

“There is no need to wait for strong earthquakes to occur before getting data to assess the seismic hazard of the country” Dr. Amponsah said.

She said urbanization should be discouraged and warning systems displayed at earthquake prone zones to discourage as well as restrict the development of buildings there.

She said the recent earthquakes in Chile and parts of the world and mudslides in Uganda which claimed many lives and destroyed property should be a wake up call to Ghana to build protective facilities dotted around the country as pertained in Japan to serve as places for refuge during times of earthquake.

Dr. Amponsah called on relevant state institutions to provide accurate, relevant and timely information on what to do before, during and after earthquakes to help reduce loss of life and property.

She gave some of the safety measures to adopt during earthquakes which include staying calm, protecting one’s body from falling objects, going under a sturdy desk, table, bed or stand against a support column if indoors, staying in the open if outdoors to mitigate its devastating risks.

Professor George Benneh, President of NFRST, said the institution instituted the lecture series to initiate debates and publicize research findings to support innovation and transition of the country to a knowledge-based economy.

Source: GNA

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