Can we get it right after June 3?

By Nana Kodjo Jehu-Appiah

The rains would continue to fall and there is nothing we could do about the elements as a nation.

The predictions of Ghana Meteorological Service that the skies are not empty of water yet, is scary and nightmarish as the country mourns for fallen victims of the June 3 disaster, but no matter what we do, we cannot say; “rain, rain go away, come again another day”.

At least Noah built an ark to protect a whole generation from the devastating effects of floods, but stiff necked men of his time ignored the danger post and died, for the bible tell us so.

Ghana was at the mercy of very devastating floods in 1995 and we swore as a nation “never again”, yet we did not have the answers for the June 3 disaster that struck hard on the country and at Kwame Nkrumah Circle in particular.

As a country we cannot even tell the exact figure of the souls that lost their covenant with life on that fateful day, coupled with the blast at Goil filling station that turned Ghanaians going about their normal duties into a large pile of barbecue that could only be served in the icy morgues and the never satisfied burial grounds.

The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the 37th Military and the Police Hospitals have so far received 126 dead bodies from the Goil inferno.

According to the GNA the statistics are follows: Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, three; the 37th Military Hospital, 66; and the Police Hospital, 57.

Mr Mustapha Salifu, Head of the Public Relations Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in an interview with GNA, said 15 victims of the disaster were brought to the hospital of which three died through their injuries.

He said six were treated and discharged while another six are on admission; of which four are in critical condition.

He said one of the four in a critical state is yet to be identified.

At the 37th Military Hospital, Major Evelyn Ntiamoah Asamoah, Deputy Director, Public Relations in-charge of Protocol, said the hospital recorded 46 admissions.

She said 17 persons have been treated and discharged, while 29 are on admission, with four in the intensive care unit.

Police Corporal Faustina Afia Nunekpeku, Public Relations Coordinator, Police Hospital, said the corpses at the medical facility comprised 31 men, 21 women and five children. She said so far 30 bodies have been identified.

In line with protocol the state has declared three days of mourning and mournful state officials including President John Dramani Mahama, former Head of State Jerry John Rawlings, parliamentarians led by the Speaker, Mr Doe Ajaho; and varied political leaders including flag bearer of New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Danquah Akufo- Addo were at the scene of the disaster.

They were very consolatory and that was expected from the typical Ghanaian but as business as usual the full force of the blame game has been unleashed and the greatest casualty is the city authorities and their boss Nii Okoe Vandepuye. After all Accra Metropolitan Assembly promised to fix the problem the last time it occurred.

In the midst of the commotion President Mahama said something very important touching about the usual Ghanaian reaction to policies that tends to purge the mess in the system to mitigate the harmful effects of future tragedies.

Potential targets of looming disasters are those who throws in hefty political punches that force lovers of the red carpet treatment to find shelter, for who would stand threats that are likely to affect political fortunes in presidential and parliamentary elections?

When disaster struck the old building of Ministry of Foreign Affairs the state called for national auditing of all public buildings to check their safety level. What happened to the directive?

A GNA report also quoted Ghana National Fire Service officials after a disaster preparedness exercise that they lack the logistics to combat emergencies on high rise buildings. As a nation have we taken the warning serious to avert disaster on the beautiful edifice dotted around our Third World nation?

Waste generation and free for all dumping of refuse at any available space is now a culture of life and it is smart to litter the environment since it is free of charge and does not often attract sanctions, for after all National Sanitation Day exercise could take care of the situation.

We easily wish away waterborne diseases like cholera that claimed a number of lives last year, yet we love our messy environment and the stench that goes with it. We build on water ways and attend to natures call without recourse to civilised conventions.

Traffic lights are now mere decoration posts for even when they are functioning, motor bike riders could jump red lights under the watchful eyes of police men and when the lights go off there often no uniformed men at most places to direct traffic, yet the records on road crashes equal the numbers who lose their lives during war situations especially when insurgents strike light targets.

Motor bike riders have their own set of rules; they use every lane they deem fit; drive in opposite directions and unconventional spaces and every shot cut is vital in their impatience to avoid traffic. They often don’t wear helmets perhaps because they perceive themselves as super humans and think that accidents are meant for others.

As Ghanaians we make too much noise when having fanfares and at funerals and other social gatherings oblivious of the fact that exposing one’s ears to high decibel levels is harmful and could eventually lead to death. Most places of worship and drinking spots are the biggest offenders of “do unto others what you expect others do unto you”.

It is common for drivers to toot their horns as medium of communication. They use it to lure passengers to patronise their commercial services or as a means of venting their anger or frustrations on the road.

We are doing a lot to harm to ourselves as a nation. We trivialise serious national issues such as the current power crisis especially in the mass media and people become political heroes when they visit the full force of vulgarism on their perceived political enemies.

The tragic acid attack on Adams Mahama, Upper East Regional Chairman of the NPP is now a political tool for some elements in the ruling National Democratic Congress as media reports say some people have been arrested for threatening their constituency chairman with acid bout.

Something has gone wrong and who would fix it? GNA

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