Member of Parliament for Wa Central has expressed some dissatisfaction with the work of the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, which investigated the Kintampo Waterfalls disaster.
The Committee presented its report to the House on Thursday identifying factors that led to the tragedy and recommended a number of measures to ensure the safety of tourism sites across the country.
Hon. Dr. Rashid Hassan Pelpuo who was contributing to debate on the work of the committee noted that despite the efforts, the report failed to capture a very important aspect, which would have provided new perspectives into how to manage these sites to ensure safety.
According to him, Parliament needs to know the people manning the facility during the tragedy and how prepared they were in managing the challenges of disasters when they occur.
“In the case of the Kintampo Waterfalls accident, what did they do in response as a result of the challenge of a tree falling into the pool and killing people?”
This, Mr. Rashid Pelpuo said, would have been very revealing and provide invaluable information to understanding the kind of personnel used in manning these sites and whether they are the appropriate people to put in charge of these facilities to serve as the face of Ghana for foreign tourists.
Parliament, he said, needs to go beyond the report and give assurance to the public that the place is safe and also put in place equipment and facilities to assure people their safety has been taken care.
The Committee, in its report, indicated that lives could have been saved if appropriate measure had been put in place by management and other stakeholders of the facility.
It observed that several factors contributed to the disaster that include poor environmental systems, absence of advance warning systems on imminent dangers, inadequate information on safety, absence of emergency response team, absence of health post and structural defects.
The Committee outlined some preventive measures to ensure safety of the facility and these include controlling bush fires and managing the trees, erecting a fence wall to restrict movement of unwanted persons and creating a fire belt to serve as buffer to protect the waterfalls among many others.
The Committee indicated that as a valuable natural resource, efforts must be made to protect the water level of the river and its tributaries and ensure the source is free from human settlements, debris and pollutants.
The Committee suggested routine checks be conducted on the facility by the Water Resources Commission to ensure it does not dry up or taken over by human habitats.
The facility, it indicated, should also collaborate with the University of Energy and natural resources to green the waterfalls enclave permanently to ensure there is enough vegetation cover to protect the waterfalls and also allow the university to use the place as an arboretum and a learning center.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org