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FEATURE: Make Aburi safe now (Part One)



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People are building houses on the rockface of the hills approaching one of Ghana’s favourite getaways. Their actions make disaster much more probable

Since the June 3 2015 Kwame Nkrumah Circle disaster, conversation turns every year to how poor our drainage systems are, and to how littering and bad habits of dumping waste in waterways can be minimised to stop further tragedies of the kind happening. But it seems that the discussions and moves to take remedial measures occur only when the rain comes pouring down.

There is a culture of waiting for trouble to hit before we start naming and blaming. This culture will disappear not through the work of governments or with exertion of force by environmental activists, but through deliberate and continuous action by all Ghanaians.

Forty-five minutes’ drive north-east from the concrete city of Accra lie the green enclaves of Ayi Mensah and Peduase. Straight ahead stand the Aburi Hills, at the foot of the Akwapim-Togo Mountain Ranges, which define the landscape. At the top of the Aburi incline is the plush Peduase Lodge, built by President Kwame Nkrumah, and a stretch of highway meanders across the hillside, connecting the main towns in this area, such as Aburi, Larteh, Akropong and Koforidua, with Accra. From here, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Accra Plains.

The cool and pleasant weather has also made it a popular destination for keep-fit enthusiasts, botanists and hill walkers. This has created business opportunities, and local restaurants, hotels, groceries and petty trading outlets thrive.

On the flip side, the uncontrolled expansion of Accra has made two communities in particular ‒ Ayi Mensah in the La Nkwantanang-Madina Municipality and Peduase in Akwapim South – increasingly urbanised. There is high demand for land, and as multi-storey dream homes spring up, the hills are not being spared.

There seems to be no recourse to proper spatial planning. Houses are emerging haphazardly, even on the very edge of the top of the hill.


Long saga of damage


Five years ago, rock particles from boulders along the Ayi Mensah-Peduase portion of the Accra-Aburi road began to dislodge, eventually disintegrating and falling into the road. This road, which leads to Peduase Lodge and serves as one of the major routes from Accra to Koforidua and Aburi Botanical Gardens, became unsafe to use.

Geologists in Ghana say human activity such as stone mining, building on the rockface and even the reconstruction of the road have altered the nature of the rocks, causing them to tumble. Housebuilding has however been highlighted as the main cause of the problem.

Though the situation was brought under partial control by draping wire mesh over the rockface, the severe changes these rocks have undergone over many decades have rendered them soft, unstable and problematic for building.


The why factor

Despite several warnings about the dangers, houses have been erected in the most precipitous locations and even more are being put up.

Poor law enforcement by government officials and deliberate disregard for the law play a big role in exacerbating the problem.

The district chief executive for Akuapem South, Frank Aidoo, says the assembly is now ensuring that landowners wishing to build in dangerous locations do not get permits. Cases involving landowners who have built in dangerous places are before the courts, some awaiting injunctions.

“All these houses you see at the edge of the cliff don’t have permits,” Mr Aidoo told the Daily Statesman. “Most of them applied but we denied their applications. They then go ahead to put up the structures in the middle of the night.

“Sometimes they stop building for a very long time, but when they realise we’ve not been going there, they continue. By the time we realise, they’ve finished with their construction,” he said.

The statement implies that the local assembly is still not strictly ensuring that unauthorised buildings are not put up. Nonetheless, the indifference to authority and the law is alarming.

Such is the increase in demand for land in the environs of Peduase Lodge, Aburi and Aburi Hills that money keeps pouring in for the landowners. One landowner estimated that a plot around Peduase Lodge can sell for US$300,000. As such, despite the potential consequences, local families and chiefs rarely hesitate to sell.

“It will make the economy of this town boom if more people move here,” a pedestrian said, when asked for his thoughts about the new houses which are being built. Others to whom the Daily Statesmanspoke saw no problem with building. One can take this to mean that neither do the property developers and landowners.


Living on a fault line


The rockfaces where houses have been built stand on the Akwapim Fault. The rocks here are not as compact as others, making them prone to landslides, mudslides and earthquakes regardless of the type of engineering used. Here, clearly, the prospect of falling rocks should be the least of anyone’s worries.

Landslides occur in fault zones when the soil, rocks and other earth remains can no longer hold together and give way to gravity. Building work greatly increases a region’s vulnerability to the phenomenon. The downward force of a landslide can exert itself slowly ‒ or quickly, with disastrous effects.

With houses instead of trees covering the rock surface, any type of downpour will cause a mudslide, a geologist told the Daily Statesman. He described mudslides as quick-moving portions of dirt, rock and debris that have been held to the point where they can no longer defy gravity. They are highly destructive, moving as rapidly as 35mph and destroying anything in their path. Some of the worst disasters in history have involved mudslides.

Equally, a sudden slip between any two faults in these rocks can cause an earthquake. This year, certain parts of Accra, including Weija, McCarthy Hill, Gbawe, Sowutuom and Legon, experienced a series of earth tremors. The magnitude of the last tremor in March recorded by the Ghana Geological Survey Authority was 3.9 on the Richter scale, the highest the country has experienced.

Research work dating back to 1981 shows that most earthquakes in Ghana occur in the western part of Accra, where the coastal boundary fault meets the Akuapem Fault. The research showed that there were a number of activities north-eastward along the Akuapem and westward along the coastal boundary faults.

This only goes to show that houses are being built on impending disaster. The worldwide death toll from comparable natural events is in the hundreds of thousands, with millions of dollars’ worth of property destroyed each year.


It’s not too late


The struggle to prevent disaster and ensure safety of lives and property in the locality was initially fronted by the media, the then Minister of Roads and Highways and the then district chief executive in 2014. However, their actions were directed mainly towards solving the crisis of the falling rocks. Once it seemed the situation had been brought under control, discussions about the problem of housebuilding died down.

The law gives a mandate to the assembly to stop, bring down or take any other necessary measures over unauthorised buildings.It is incumbent on the central governmenttoprovide adequate logistics and resources to the local assemblies to prevent further building work.

Proper sanctions must also be meted out to people and government personnel who turn a blind eye to the law for their own gain. And the media must help to raise awareness of the problem, educate the public and scrutinise the government and people impartially until change is attained.

Though these catastrophes can occur naturally and efforts to forestall them can be futile, human activity can trigger or hasten the process. Pressure on the land in a fault zone, which over the years has already caused the rocks to fragment and slide, can be counteracted by using vegetative cover to hold the soil together. Yet Aburi’s forest cover is also being destroyed. Without the root systems of trees, bushes and other plants, the land is more likely to give way to gravity.

* To be continued.

By Priscilla Owusu||The Daily Statesman


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Mr Macaroni, Tosin Olaseinde, Taiwo Adeyemi Set To Speak At New Media Conference 2022




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Dr. Michael K Obeng, R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Worldwide Inc. to conduct free reconstructive surgeries in Ghana this October



Barely three months after performing free reconstructive surgeries in Yaounde Cameroon, R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Worldwide Inc., led by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Michael K. Obeng, is headed to Accra, Ghana.

The team of selfless and dedicated health officials is expected to arrive in Accra on Saturday, October 8.

Screening of patients will take place on Sunday, October 9, with surgeries to begin Monday, October 10 through to Friday, October 15.

The mission will be the team’s third medical mission this year after successful programs in Gambia and Cameroon early in the year.

This will be the 15th year that the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. team has embarked on such a humanitarian mission. The team of selfless volunteers has visited and performed reconstructive surgeries in Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, and Vietnam.

As done over the years, the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. team will not only perform surgeries but also train a good number of local healthcare professionals as well as exchange ideas.

To date, R.E.S.T.O.R.E. has performed over 1,600 surgeries free of charge in three different continents, the monetary value exceeding $80 Million USD.

About R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Worldwide Inc.; The Foundation for Reconstructive Surgery

R.E.S.T.O.R.E. is an acronym that stands for Restoring Emotional Stability Through Outstanding Reconstructive Efforts. It is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit medical service organisation that provides free reconstructive surgery and related medical services to children and adults with disfiguring deformities from birth, accidents and diseases involving not only the head and neck region, but also the trunk, breasts, extremities, and genitalia. It was founded in 2007 by Dr. Michael K. Obeng.

As part of its mission, R.E.S.T.O.R.E. also educates and trains local medical professionals on the latest techniques and safety measures in plastic and reconstructive surgery, effecting change long after the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. team leaves these communities.

R.E.S.T.O.R.E. AT 15

Dr. Michael K. Obeng, MD, FACS – It is with great pleasure to announce that RESTORE Worldwide, Inc.; the Foundation for Reconstructive Surgery reaches its 15th anniversary this year!

I, as the founder, look back at these years with nostalgic fondness and am proud of the continuous expansion and growth, all made possible with the assistance of a strong donor base that helped us reach this milestone.

Since its inception in 2007, RESTORE and its dedicated group of noble volunteers completed missions in 11 different countries on three continents. The team has performed over 1500 surgeries all free of charge, with a great humanitarian aim to change people’s lives, and were not afraid to tackle complex reconstruction cases. The monetary value of surgeries performed has exceeded well over USD 80 million.  Moreover, a countless number of patients of all ages have indirectly benefited from the foundation’s work through non-surgical management and the training of local doctors.

Now, as RESTORE races towards its fifteenth anniversary, I am not only keen on replicating the same success, but also envision reaching new horizons with a goal of raising USD 2.5 million in a year to make an even greater impact. It is no secret that we have strong demand and constant requests for RESTORE missions in new regions and countries, all unfulfilled because of the heavy weight of logistical costs associated with providing medical and surgical supplies and transporting the team. While some donors provide value by donating time and volunteering, the non-profit needs donors to provide crucial financial support.

This year in June, we completed a mission to Cameroon and have upcoming trips that include Ghana in October and Senegal in December. If we reach our fundraising goal on this occasion, I envision RESTORE’s expansion to Central and South America, as well as Southeast Asia, and growing to become one of the leading non-profit, charity organizations across the globe.

Any support, great or small, helps RESTORE to get closer to its very special goal to change lives, give hope and make an impact.

As I deliver my deepest gratitude towards your generosity, I hope you will inspire others to make the same move, by supporting our noble cause.

About Dr. Michael K. Obeng

Dr. Michael K Obeng, popularly known as The Surgeon’s Surgeon is a Harvard-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon.

In March this year, Dr Obeng reached an agreement with Sushen Medicamentos PVT LTD. to build a $50 million WHO GMP-certified first-class pharmaceutical plant in Akwamu in the

Eastern Region of Ghana to curtail the importation of fake drugs into the country.

He also runs Global Health Solution, a consulting firm, that is bridging the gap between “morbidity and healthy living” in developing countries.

Dr. Obeng is among the rare few plastic surgeons in the world to successfully reattach a limb, and remove ribs to streamline the waist. He specializes in cosmetic surgery and complex

The Ghanaian-born surgeon gained global recognition in 2021 after successfully removing Gorilla Glue from the hair of “internet sensation” Tessica Brown by using bio-friendly chemicals he put together in less than 48 hrs.
He is a father, an award-winning motivational speaker, a philanthropist, a humanitarian, and a global health strategist..

Dr. Michael K. Obeng was named among “America’s Top Plastic Surgeons” by the Consumer Research Council of America in 2011 and 2014.
Photo Credit: R.E.S.T.O.R.E.
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Attached Is The Featured image  and  proof of appointmen
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