Posted on March 12, 2011


When earth shattering events take place-and the Japan earthquake/tsunami is one in every sense of the word-we often reminisce where we were when we first heard. For Baby Boomers in N.A., it would be events such as the ’63 assassination of J.F.K. or the 1965 black-out of the Eastern seaboard of the US and Canada; and for later generations, of course it would be the downing of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in N.Y. ….. You know what I am getting at.

Regarding the tragic events in Japan, I will always know where I was on that fateful March 11, 2011.

I first had an inkling that something was happening while sitting in the waiting room of a senior official in the regional administration. The TV was on and there was a talk-show program with an imam as the featured guest. He was talking about earthquakes.

After my meeting, I left and walked to another building to see another officer in a different department on the same issue. It was there that I saw the catastrophic images of the Japan quake.

Ironically the subject of my visits to the two departments was to reiterate my plea for local authorities to inspect a hastily constructed two story building built right on the front property line beside a road that sees extremely heavy traffic, including timber lorries and tipper trucks. Speed ramps have been constructed nearby which are sure to cause vibrations . Furthermore the land was formerly a swamp that had been filled in and had been zoned as public toilets. Moreover, the land borders a river.

Recently emergency services had been called to the building which was evacuated for a short time….

Below is an eyewitness account of a Canadian in Tokyo during the quake. But before you read it, I’d like to quote one sentence that relates to the situation of most concern to me here….

“Japan also has what must be the strictest building codes in the world and when I was standing in downtown Tokyo watching skyscrapers sway like trees, it’s not hard to see why.”

Not Ghana though.


Note in one of my meetings, I mentioned the 2007 collapse of the Kumasi O.A. Bus Terminal, a four story structure. The official I was talking to got very flustered saying all the studies had been done on that project and that the contractor had not followed the approved plans and had cut corners on the materials. I said that was all the more reason for a thorough inspection of the project in question.

As you will read in the following article, however, you will learn that the bus terminal was built on land zoned as a tennis court that was formerly a swamp!

Heaven forbid if the building I am concerned about collapses…..