Issac Mwinbelle (3rd from left), acting Director-General of the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA), interacting with Philip Yaw Oduro Amoako (2nd from right), the Board Chairman of the GGSA. With them are some of the participants. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Issac Mwinbelle (3rd from left), acting Director-General of the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA), interacting with Philip Yaw Oduro Amoako (2nd from right), the Board Chairman of the GGSA. With them are some of the participants. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

Resource Geological Survey to deliver - Director-General to government

The Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA) has called on the government to resource the National Seismic Observatory with modern equipment to enable it to deliver real-time information on earthquakes.


According to the acting Director-General of the GGSA, Isaac K. Mwinbelle, the current manual means of transmitting data from the monitoring stations dotted across the country for interpretation delayed the release of relevant information on earthquakes to the public.

"We have some of the monitoring stations at Weija, Achimota, in the Greater Accra Region around the three sites for nuclear power plants and other key areas which monitor seismic activities; but the main issue is that with some of them, data are not transmitted real time, so we have to do data conversion,” he said.

To make the transition from the manual transmission of data, he said, the GGSA would require $200 million to bolster its network system.

He made the call at a workshop organised by the GGSA for some journalists on the activities of the authority.

The journalists were educated on the mandate of the GGSA, the facilities on which it relied to execute that mandate, some ongoing projects and the challenges confronting it.

Mr Mwinbelle said the GGSA currently used satellite transmission, saying “this is not real time, so we need to switch to SIM modem transmission, so that we can get data real time when there is an earthquake”.

"We are saying that being a national asset, we need the required funding to make it fully operational, so that when there is an earthquake, we can give real-time information,” he said.

The acting Director-General said it was worrying that anytime there was an earth tremor, the authority was left handicapped in providing up-to-date information for members of the public.

"We need to make this switch to a better monitoring system, so that we will be able to provide information for the public that there was an earthquake at this time, it happened at this location and was of this magnitude. We need to also give members of the public assurance on whether to go out to work or not,” he said.

Mr Mwinbelle said although the authority was delivering on its mandate, the lack of an efficient network system for providing real-time data on earthquakes had been a major setback. 

He said the GGSA was collaborating with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to push for the needed resources because NADMO depended on the GGSA for all earthquake issues.


Mr Mwinbelle said the GGSA had started engaging some occupants of high-rise buildings on how to minimise the risks associated with earthquakes.

Again, he said, the authority was working with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Development and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to educate members of the public on the need to stop putting up structures at fault zones.

He indicated that although developers were required to obtain reports on whether the areas they intended to develop were free of faults from the GGSA, they had failed to do so.

He described the development of structures in earthquake zones at Weija and its environs in the Greater Accra Region as a ticking time bomb that needed to be defused by the various stakeholders.

He said related state agencies were working out a strategy to educate residents of those areas on the potential risk of earthquakes and the need to take precautionary measures.

“It will be a difficult situation for the government to ask people who have already built in those areas to pull down their houses. What we are trying to do is educate them to know the risks they face, so that they can take the right decisions,” he said.

Ongoing projects

Mr Mwinbelle said as part of its mandate, the GGSA was currently undertaking some projects that would be crucial to the country’s developmental needs.

In the mining sector, for instance, he said, the authority, in collaboration with the Minerals Commission, was delineating some areas for small-scale mining to help halt illegal mining activities.


He said two areas had so far been delineated in Dunkwa-on-Offin and Obuasi in the Central and the Ashanti regions, respectively.

Again, he said, the authority was ramping up iron ore investigations in the Oti, Northern, Western and Upper West regions, with similar exercises going on for limestone in the North East and the Savannah regions.

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