Regional News of 2014-03-03

AMA to reconstruct all burnt markets

The Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, has assured residents of Accra to remain calm since the Assembly will re-construct all market centres gutted by fire in the metropolis.

Addressing market women at a training forum on fire fighting and prevention, the Mayor indicated that financial provision is being made towards the project and that the construction would begin this year.

Flanked by the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Vanderpuie Djamgba, Dr. Vanderpuije expressed grave concern over the increasing rater of fire outbreaks in the markets, saying that most of the fires occurred between 2011 and 2013 and that 23014 is going to be a year of zero tolerance for fire outbreaks.

The Major indicated that the Assembly has identified the areas which are prone to fire outbreaks and are noted to be fire prone zones within the market hubs.

According to Dr. Vanderpuije, the City authority in their investigations has identified high level of ignorance and negligence on the side of traders which has been the major cause of fires in the market places which has affected most lives and businesses in the capital.

The Mayor called on traders to observe fire prevention regulations which to help them prevent disasters within the markets.

Meanwhile, the Station Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, Mr. Charles Amoah, outlined some safety measures that needed to be practically implemented in the markets by the Ghana Fire Service to avoid any fire disaster this year.

He pointed accusing fingers at fishmongers for contributing largely to market fire outbreaks and warned traders against the reckless use of gas cooking cylinders in the market.

Mr. Amoah also warned them against the illegal connection of electrical wires in the markets, saying fire outbreaks have become headache to many people including city authorities who are finding possible ways to salvage the situation.

He also recounted the rampant fire outbreaks in the various markets throughout the metropolis which, according to him, caused adverse effects on market traders and the economy.

He noted that the issue calls for an investigation by the metropolitan Security Council in order to come out with recommendations for the city authority to act swiftly upon.

The forum which was targeted at market women and traders in and around the central business district of the Accra metropolis sought to address issues related to causes of fires, fire prevention, management and fire fighting in the markets and trading centers in Accra.

The aim is to bring, if not to zero, reduce drastically the recorded numbers of fire disasters in the market centers in the metropolis in the years to come.

The representatives from the Ghana Electricity Company led by Mr. Bonapat Acquah, Safety Engineer of ECG, seized the opportunity to debunk the wide-spread allegation that all fire outbreaks in the markets are caused by electricity.

He explained that the reckless activities of traders in smoking/grilling fish and cooking are the major causes of all fire disasters that had occurred in the past years within the markets. Mr. Bonapat Acquah cautioned Ghanaians to refrain from engaging the services of unqualified electricians for minor works in the markets.

In an interview with some market women, they expressed the hope that the forum gave them the opportunity to enhance their capacity in fire prevention.

They commended the Assembly and its Mayor, Ghana National Fire Service, the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council and the Ministry of Interior and other stakeholders for coming up with the exercise, giving the assurance that they would support the relevant stakeholder institutions to achieve the expected results of the programme.

The ECG advised that in case of any electrical or fire disaster the public should call on the ECG Hotline 0302611611 for immediate response.