An expert in disaster and emergency issues has refuted suggestions that the country has no plan for emergency response, but said existing frameworks are not in tune with the times.
Dr. Ishmael Norman, who’s Institute for Security, Disaster and Emergency Studies provides advisory services to countries and private institutions on security, disasters and emergencies told the Joy FM's Super Morning Show Wednesday that Ghana’s current disaster management plan needs critical rethinking.
He was talking to show host, Kojo Yankson, on the state of Ghana’s emergency and disaster response plan following the June 3 fire and floods disaster that claimed over 152 lives.
Dr. Ishmael Norman
Dr Norman believes Ghana’s current emergency response plan is a one-fit-all framework that is bound to fail in serious disaster situations.
According to him, in line with modern disaster and emergency frameworks, Ghana needs different plans for its urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
He also adds that government must understand that the population in urban areas, especially in Accra, has become dynamic in terms of demographics and has increased in size. He said these factors alone point to the need to take emergency responses more seriously.
“Ghana as a country is not planned well. Not only the cities, the villages are not planned well, the towns are not planned well we have a systemic problem in planning”, he said.
The disaster management expert said the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), for instance, needs to factor in climate change issues, information from Ghana Meteorological Agency and a systematic evacuation procedure in its work.
He was however, quick to caution against bashing NADMO for not doing enough in the wake of the June 3 twin floods and fire disaster.
According to him “If you understand the modalities on the ground [you will understand that] disaster management is not taken seriously by all governments, Ghana not an exception”.
Dr Norman also warned against politicising disaster management in the country.
“Because when emergency comes, whether you are this party or that party, death has no selective memory at all”, he said.
NADMO and similar government agencies were left flatfooted in the wake of flooding in Adabraka, Nima, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Kaneshie, among other parts of the capital city last week.
The floods caused damage to properties and brought businesses to a standstill the following day.
Rescue and relief efforts by NADMO has come under serious scrutiny, raising questions about the country's emergency response preparedness.