By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
Ghana had her fair share of fire and storm disasters this year especially when dozens of people lost their lives at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle during the June 3 floods in Accra and some parts of the country . Parts of Ghana, including the capital, Accra, experienced 48 hour torrential rain, resulting in widespread flooding which has left many homeless and thousands without power and an explosion at a Goil petrol station near GCB Bank in Circle Accra that left between 70 and 95 people dead. .
If that was very serious the latest happenings in Australia and Nigeria during natural and unnatural disasters must be considered gravely disheartening indeed. While intense flooding has destroyed more than (100) hundred houses in Australia’s state of Victoria what has just happened to Nigeria is equally extremely sad.
According to the associated press a gas tanker truck ignited an inferno at a crowded industrial gas plant in Nigeria on Thursday, killing more than 100 people lining up to refill their cooking gas cylinders in time for Christmas.
The disaster took place in Nnewi, a predominantly Christian community in southeast Nigeria. By the time firefighters managed to put out the blaze, an Associated Press reporter counted the charred remains of more than 100 corpses.
Ghana and Nigeria being twin like states have similar style in business having established gas depots close to residential areas in Accra and other main cities in the country. In fact there are more than 50 known gas sales stations in Accra alone where vehicles and residents who are close by do go to form queues to buy gas there. If a disaster has befallen Nigeria’s gas depots we must consider that as a wakeup call to act now. The Ghana Fire Service is aware of the likelihood of fire out breaks in our gas depots. They are currently engaged in sensitization programs in the markets and the neighborhoods on how to prevent fire outbreaks . What they need to do now is to send their men to investigate how the managements operate the gas stations. The Ghana Fire Service can go to the extent of getting security men or the Ghana Police Service stationed in the depots to check wrong activities at the depots. This suggestion is being given in the light wrong activities likely to happen at the depots and the need to promote preventive methods in fire fighting especially in gas depots that are prone to fire disasters. The Chief of Staff of the current government Mr. Julius Debra being an “action man” is surely aware about the benefits to be derived in getting personnel of Ghana Fire Service and the security men to mount surveillance on the fire prone gas stations and some petrol stations in the city centers . Yes Mr. Debrah is the architect of the monthly clean up exercises throughout the country when he was a Minister of Local Government. Now that he is the Chief Of Staff it will not be difficult for him to help mount surveillance on the gas stations especially now that we are in the Harmattan season during which a slight mistake by someone in the stations can cause disaster of very high proportion in the gas depots.
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