Earth tremor hits Accra again
Residents in parts of Accra were thrown into a state of fear and panic following three earth tremors that hit the capital city Monday, December 12.
Within a space of five hours Monday morning, three earth tremors had been recorded – the first at about 6:53 a.m. about four kilometres radius off Gbawe and the second around 11:43 a.m, also reported to have occurred about 10 kilometres (km)from Gbawe, and 11 minutes later, a third occurred.
Although they did not last for more than a minute, the effect was strong as people felt the vibration and tried to run to safety.
However, the Director-General of the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA), Isaac Mwinbelle, told Graphic Online that field experts deployed to gather data on the tremors shortly after their occurrence recorded those that occurred in the mid-morning.
He said the data had shown that three tremor events occurred between 11:40 and11:58 a.m.
“The first event, which is the fore-shock, occurred at 11:49 a.m; the main event occurred at 11:53 a.m. and the after-shock occurred at 11:58 a.m,” he said.
According to the Android Earthquake Alerts System, the seismic movement reached moment magnitude scale (Mms) 4.0, with the epicentre located in the western part of Accra, 10 km from Gbawe in the Weija-Gbawe Municipality.
Apart from the Weija-Gbawe municipality, other parts of the capital city such as Adabraka, Graphic Road, Lapaz, East Legon, Madina, the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra and the Ministries enclave were also hit by the earth tremor.
Some members of the public Graphic Online spoke to expressed mixed reactions on the tremor events.
While some said they panicked a bit, others said they did not feel anything.
At Adabraka in Accra, for instance, a number of people said they experienced it.
Some drivers of commercial vehicles in traffic said they felt the movement of the earth momentarily.
In the Graphic Newsroom, the impact was also felt as some members of staff who felt the building shake, panicked and jumped out of their seats.
Some tried to pick their bags and leave the building, but were restrained by other colleagues.
“It was very brief but very scary, I have never experienced anything like this and that left me momentarily confused,” a senior journalist said.
A carpet dealer at Adabraka, Elizabeth Quainoe, said she felt the earth shake, but thought it was one of the big trucks that used the road close to her shop. “This would be my third experience of a tremor since I was born and I must say this is the shortest I have experienced," she added.
A worker at Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Oscar Adena, also explained that he was at Dansoman in the morning but felt no vibration or movement of the earth.
"I am even surprised to hear all these because I have been in the market all morning getting goods for my shop but felt or heard of no such occurrence," a trader, Ama Gyamfi said. GGSA report Mr Mwinbelle said the data had shown that three tremor events occurred between11:40 and 11:58 a.m.“
The first event, which is the fore-shock, occurred at 11:49 a.m; the main event occurred at 11:53 a.m and the after-shock occurred at 11:58 a.m,” he said.
He further explained that the GGSA was further interrogating the data that had been collected from the field to determine the magnitudes and epicentres of the tremors.
Safety, public education
The GGSA boss urged members of the public to remain calm and go about their activities while the authority analysed information from the earthquake monitoring equipment to get more information on the tremors.
He also advised members ofthe public to adhere to safety precautions first in such natural occurrences to ensure that they did not suffer great losses.
For instance, he said when tremors occurred, the first thing for people to do was to go under a table or chair, after which they had to move to open spaces for safety.
“If you are in a tall building, you need to come down to the ground floor and look for open spaces so that if there are falling structures, you will not be affected,” he said.
He also advised that persons who found themselves on or near a bridge at the time of a tremor needed to stay away from it so that any collapse of the structure would not affect them.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has assured members of the public especially those in the affected areas that the organisation was working with the GGSA to ensure their safety.
The Director-General of the organisation, Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, said the tremors were not damaging and there had not been any reported destruction or loss of lives and property associated with the natural occurrence.
Subsequently, he urged members of the public to remain calm and go about their duties without fear.
Mr Agyemang-Prempeh urged homeowners in the affected areas to inspect their buildings for possible cracks and seek technical advice from engineers and other experts in the building space.
He observed that while sharing of information was key, it was important for members of the public to be circumspect about the credibility of the facts they putout in the public domain.
Tremors, earthquakes Similar earth tremors had been experienced in Accra annually from 2018 to2020, with experts explaining that the situation existed because Accra was situated in earthquake-prone zones.
Particularly, Weija Gbawe, McCarthy Hill and their environs have been long earmarked as earthquake zones.
Following an earth tremor in 2018, the GGSA had warned of an imminent earthquake in some parts of the country within the shortest possible time.
A senior seismologist, Nicholas Opoku, had warned residents of the affected are as that the earth tremors were signs that an earthquake could occur.
This is because human activities have greatly disturbed the ecology, with attacks on the hills and the general environment, which have combined to open the fault lines.
The opening of the fault lines opens the floodgates for repetition of the tremors and a possible full-blown earthquake.
The country first recorded an earthquake in 1862, measuring 6.5 Mms, which was also felt in Togo and Benin.
It again happened in 1906 in Ho, which recorded widespread damage, with Accra recording its first of 6.6 Mms in June 1939. Thereafter, there were three quakes in1997 in Accra, 2003, 2006, 2007 in Takoradi, and again in 2018 at Weija Gbawe.