A National Data Centre to serve as an early warning system by channelling accurate information to the public and get their readiness in the event of a natural disaster has been inaugurated in Accra.
Sited at the premises of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), the centre will constantly monitor, manage and coordinate both natural and man-made seismic activities within the country.
The centre will collate data on seismic activities, report on all aspects of disasters to government agencies that deal with disasters, report and disseminate data to the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria.
It will also provide Ghana with the capability of contributing to the global effort of monitoring the testing of nuclear weapons around the world in collaboration with the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).
Commissioning the centre, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology said presently, the country did not have any operational, centralized data acquisition system for monitoring and managing disasters of any kind.
“The establishment of this data centre is timely and strategic as it will give us the opportunity and capability to access data from other international organisations,” she said.
Ms. Ayittey called for a concerted effort to effectively mitigate earthquake risk disaster and other disasters globally, saying disaster prevention or mitigation, should be considered as an integral part of all development policy and planning at the local, regional, national and global level.
She recalled the panic and anxiety that gripped the nation a few weeks ago due to a hoax about an impending earthquake, saying, “This strange reaction from Ghanaians would have been controlled if we had a system in place to coordinate the seismic data and therefore give information to the public about earthquakes.”
Ms. Ayittey expressed the hope that the team of scientists and technicians from GAEC and other stakeholder institutions in the country and experts from CTBTO would see to the smooth running of the centre.
Professor Yaw Serfor Armah, Deputy Director-General of GAEC and National Liaison to the CTBTO said monitoring the testing of nuclear explosives besides man-made and natural disasters, were in the right direction to ensure global peace, safety and security.
Apart from working directly with the concerns of nuclear energy, he said the centre had given GAEC another dimension within which to show its capability and ability.
Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Director of the International Data Centre said the CTBTO acknowledged the importance of reducing and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons test world wide.
He said it was vital to set up a centre that would constantly monitor natural and man-made disaster and also enable Ghana upload its data to the IDC as well as receive seismic, radionuclide, hydro acoustic and infrasound data from other international organisations.