Earthquake scare in Ghana. Is Ghana prepared?

I woke up to a news report about an earth quake scare in Ghana. An earth quake was supposed to have happened somewhere close to where I live. Yet, I had slept soundly all night and was not ruffled at any point by the earth shaking.

It all started with a call I got from a friend this morning at 6:15am. That was the earliest she ever called me and you would thus imagine how surprised I was when she said she’d been trying to reach me since 2am! Apparently, the mobile network MTN was jammed as a result of the numerous phone calls and text messages making rounds. The rumour going round were two fold:

  • an earthquake had already shook a town around Kasoa and was headed towards Winneba and  Cape Coast
  • an earthquake was due to shake Accra
Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, Ghana. Is Ghana really prepared for an earthquake? Photo by Oluniyi David Ajao.
Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, Ghana. Is Ghana really prepared for an earthquake? Photo by Oluniyi David Ajao.

I only laughed it off. Earthquakes are not known to be predictable and knowing my people, I could tell that this was a rumour orchestrated to play on people’s minds since the recent earthquake in Haiti would lend credence to it.

I heard reports on radio from across Ghana about people who spent the entire night outside their homes, in open spaces in anticipation of an earthquake. As comical as it sounds, one cannot afford to be complacent since some parts of Accra have been identified long before now, as being earthquake-prone. According to experts however, the worst case scenario for any part of Ghana would be an earth tremor which is a mild form of an earthquake.

Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, a deputy Minister of Information, was at Joy FM (a leading radio station in Accra) to calm nerves and dispel the rumour:

“Government wants to assure the nation that it is just a rumour, that, there is going to be an earthquake.
“There is no iota of scientific evidence in that; somebody has just pulled a prank on the nation.
“It’s nothing but a wild rumour orchestrated and aimed at causing commotion and panic. It is not true, we have checked from all the official agencies.”

An expert in this field had also added his voice on why there should be no cause for alarm at this time:

Dr Emmanuel Amamoo-Otchere, former Executive Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Services (CERGIS) at the University of Ghana, Legon, has reiterated that even though it is good to take precautionary measures, people should not panic.

“There is a world network for earthquake news and I checked that source and I haven’t seen anything like that…I think some people are trying to raise a scare, which may not be true. I don’t think it is real.”

Dr Amamoo-Otchere however noted that earthquake with heavy impact, such as the one in Haiti, are difficult to predict, but assured that even if anything would happen in Ghana, it would be a minor one.

This latest event though a rumour, has got me thinking. Already, one is grateful that natural disasters hardly happen in Ghana. The few ones that seem natural, are actually man-made. Accra is flooded on an annual basis and each time it happens, lives are lost. The floods are typically caused by people erecting permanent structures on water ways and drainages. The huge water from the rain thus builds-up into a flood that invades homes and kills.

Every year, government agencies react, promising to take corrective action including demolishing the wrongly located buildings. Yet, its always the same at the end of the day. Accra gets flooded again because the government took little action the previous year. Thus, I cannot imagine the huge loss of life that would follow an earthquake in Ghana.

Are you in Ghana? How did you hear about the rumour and what was your reaction? Do you have any evacuation plan in case of a real earthquake? What is the most valuable item you would take with you if you were ordered to leave your home/office at short notice? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. I was woken by a neighbor at 3:30am….”Doris,Doris,it’s reported there’s going to be an earthquake any moment. ..wake up everyone is outside” Of course it took some minutes before waking.I so much wanted to brush the warning off but that would’ve been rude since she was just being good to me. Reluctantly,I called friends who had access to the web so we could start tweeting and capture the rare moment in Ghana i.e. people’s reactions. We knew it was a false rumor hahaha!
    If this rumor was true,I certainly won’t leave my camera,G1,laptop and external hard drive behind lol…

  2. My mom woke me up at 3:30 am on Monday to stand outside as a precaution against an impending earthquake. She had been woken by neighbours. When it turned out to be untrue, people claimed to have heard the news on BBC, Peace Fm and others. I think authorities should investigate this rumor and bring those who started it to book. A similar rumor alleging that receiving cell phone calls made people insane (started by peace fm) spread fear and strained communication in the country. If this continues, people will not follow government precautionary measures in the face or a real catastrophe.
    joe accra.

  3. I was in my room when a friend of mine came knocking on my door telling me his Dad had experienced it and thinks it is coming towards Accra, so we had better look for a safe place. I took my ATM card, my phone and my Terabyte HardDrive and went out to seek refuge 🙂

    Its kinda strange the way we are so open to such a prank. But I would want to know who pulled it? He must be very smart and must know of the Gh weakness!

  4. I really do believe too that this case should be investigated into and the culprits brought to book. This could also be one of the pranks used by armed robbers to get into peoples homes and rob them off their properties without their knowing. This could also go a long way to affect people with disabilities and heart attacks as blood pressure of some people could get to the rising and causing damage to the Human Heart and Brains as well.

  5. I’ve always believed hurricanes, earthquakes and the likes are not a common feature in this of the world though I would have fallen for this prank cos you can never tell.;) It could human made if such is possible.

    Would definitely not leave without my laptop. Me needs my funbox with me all the time 😉

  6. i really believe the earthquake rumor should be investigated.but after careful thought i also believe that someone may have heard a noise or something, i cannot believe this was a big joke, its not possible something might have happen. please geological survey can you search well to confirm the rumor.

  7. i realy believe the earthquake come and distroy us bc of our bad did. but thank good it did not happy. let all pray so that it will not happen here in ghana. stay bless.

  8. maame yaa, maame yaa, sori(wake up) there is going to be an earthquarke. i woke up immediately forgotting to put something on. i later came back to self, picked my latest samsung phone GTB3310, my charger and my ear phones and went outside to join the others in the neighbourhood. after listening to news on f m about an hour. i went inside and slept COME WHAT MAY

  9. i had a call from a friend yesterday around 11.50 pm claiming there was a breaking news on BBC, that Ghana would be hit by an earthquake this dawn. I quickly went online to ascertain the truth but realize it was a false alarm.
    In case of a real earthquake,i would take with me my academic certificates, passport and of course my laptop.

  10. i had a cal from a friend around 3:30am but ignorned it & slept,later my sis called & confirmed it ,i woked my mum siblings & my 2 little nephew dressed them & took my laptop ,my phone & my handbag .we all went outside 2 seek refuge,later friends ,loved ones called 2 alert me.but d funny thing was dat no one in my house had credit 2 call,our light were all out,people in my vicinity were all up.later my sis called 2 say it had been announced dat it was just a prank ,so we all retied 2 bed aroun 5:00am, i was late 4 wk 2day.

  11. Wow, if that was a prank it was well done. But considering the negative implications of such pranks in the future is quite scary.

    As to a real earthquake happening in Ghana or almost anywhere on the continent – the results would be catastrophic. Earthquakes are, in my humble opinion, not part of our history in most parts of the continent and as such, we do not build our homes to withstand such incidents. That would create a lot of problems. Anyway, I’m glad it was just a rumor and that no one was affected by a real earthquake, though many were obviously affected by a made-up one.

    Hope all is well with you and yours.

  12. I am proud to be a Ghanaian, and hearing the news through my friend who called me around 3am this morning I could not sleep than to join the folk outside awaiting the earthquake. If this should be true, I might try to save myself in the neighboring countries and I would take along only some few dress and my Documents (certificates and others).
    However, I want to believe that this is just a rumors and that things would be properly checked so as to clear all fears and worries from all Ghanaian minds.

  13. my girlfriend called me around 2:40 am and asked me whether i was sleeping(silly question i thought) i asked her why she was asking me such and a question and she told me that there’s comic rays coming and that it’ll bring abt an earthquake. i told it’s probably not true and i slept on. caring girlfriend right?

  14. An elderly frnd caled mi @ 11.47pm to warn me 2 swth of eletric gadgt i ignored him n slept later i noices from è street. taugt it was arested thief sum how my landlady noked my door @ 3am calin us to go out cos èquak afta waitin 30mins i left em outsid includin ma wife to sleep but c%d not .sum wher @ 5am i hed it was anounsd dat it was a hoaxe wel i slept it of .holaala

  15. Early this down at 3:30 a friend called and gave me an information about the earthquake that was alarmed to happen in Ghana. I quickly called the MTN office to found out if such is true and it was confirmed that there is no evidence about such issue as they’ve also heard. The lady who pick at MTN office and spoke to me said after hearing the issue none of the media confirmed it and with this little information I became satisfy.

  16. When I heard it, I was incredulous because I scoured BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and Reuters. No report. I watched “Runaway Jury” until 1.30 a.m. and went to made. I made sure I switched off my phone, not because I was afraid that there would be some infinitely increased radiation levels, but because I did not want the whole world and half of Mars to call me up steal my 4 hours of sleep. I heard, this morning, that many people evacuated their homes and spent the night in open places. Laughing on the way to work, I asked myself: what if there was a heavy downpour?

  17. I heard this a couple of days ago from my family back home. hehe kudos to whoever who began this, my poor granpa was on the verge of moving oh! hahaa classic. But in reality, in case a quake occurs, my phone, my stepmom and siblings will be my priority.

  18. The atta mills govt dat we all believ is a karin dan è armed robers govt of dzon ajekum k4 shd search n panish dos bhind è èquak Horse.ok dos ho went out wat if it rained mouse n cats if i wer 2 run 4ma liv i w%d take book of mormon n pencil n my wife n sum pad in case …holaaala

  19. The atta mills govt dat we all believ is a karin dan è armed robers govt of dzon ajekum k4 shd search n panish dos bhind è èquak Horse.i bliev è NPP may ve dan è hoaz we kant trust dem .NAW dos ho went out wat if it rained mouse n cats if i wer 2 run 4ma liv i w%d take book of mormon n pencil n my wife n sum pad in case …holaaala

  20. The atta mills govt dat we all believ is a karin dan è armed robers govt of dzon ajekum k4 shd search n panish dos bhind è èquak Horse.i bliev è NPP may ve dan è hoaz we kant trust dem .NAW dos ho went out wat if it rained mouse n cats if i wer 2 run 4ma liv i w%d take book of mormon n pencil n my wife n sum pad in case.

  21. this is really fuuny….ghana pls wake up….u just dont allow people to throw dust on your face….i hope the culprit who started this joke will be caught….

  22. Earthquake scare in Ghana. Is Ghana prepared

    hum, am jst confuse, in Ghana ?
    No nothing of such in this part of the planet, is not true. Ghana is not victim of earthquake.

  23. Well well i was in my sleep when ma dad come calling me outtta da room……Dad what is it?.Have you not heard?There is a earth quake coming………wow this sounded geography to me…..loved geography in school….i said to my dady,we are no where near any circumpacific ball of fire. there earthquakes over here are less heard of….I was like wow the whle ghana has been deceived …….what are our seismic staions doing????????? informations such as these should come from credibe institutions such as these…Next time no rumor should be taken seriously..until they come from redible sources

  24. the truth is how prepare are we for 2011, because Africa is going to be hit by volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides,powerful storms and sea rising. how prepare are we?.
    2011 Africa is going to have its share of continental disasters and as much as Ghana.lets start advising the public on these issues.

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