“Act of God” / Force majeure and self-inflicted injury | Characteristics
Last week, in the words of English poet William Wordsworth, one of the “impenetrable works of nature” took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has erupted. Seeing red-heated molten lava projected hundreds of feet into the sky from the belly of the earth, then sinking at 60 km / hour was an incredible sight.
32 people died while thousands of displaced people traveled to Rwanda.
I have never seen hot lava flow from a volcano. But thanks to technology, television has given me / us what our geography master / teacher tried to describe to us.
Goma is a beautiful city of about 700,000 inhabitants on the shores of Lake Kivu, just 8 km from Gisenyi, Rwanda. Unfortunately, it is located about 15 km from the active volcano Mont-Nyiragongo.
In Nigeria, a three-day national mourning has been declared for eleven of my comrades in arms, officers and men who tragically died in a plane crash landing in bad weather at Kaduna Airport. The army commander, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru has died. Brigadier General Olamide Olayinka, a senior staff (lecturer) at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College in 2012-2014 was among three generals who perished.
“Act of God”
An “act of God” is a natural hazard beyond human control for which no one can be held responsible, for example an earthquake / tsunami. Force majeure is synonymous with force majeure.
While the volcanic eruption in the DRC can easily be called an “act of God,” as the Nigerian Air Force plane fell due to inclement weather, it could also be an act of God. God.
But are accidents always “acts of God”? Certainly not!
Some can be seen as self-inflicted. For example, an accident while driving with one hand and talking on the cell phone with the other, as it seems in fashion these days, cannot be an act of God.
On August 14, 2017, torrential rain caused a deadly mudslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone. A World Bank report released a month after identifying 1,141 dead / missing.
While state officials have claimed the tragedy was an act of God, many dismissed it as a convenient excuse to hide the state’s neglect in protecting individuals from themselves. Sugarloaf Mountain has been systematically stripped of its lush tropical vegetation for the construction of buildings.
The first question posed after the event was how the owners obtained authorizations from the authorities to build on slopes so vulnerable to landslides. Indeed, in 2014, a resident wrote this about the permits granted to homeowners.
“Mr. President, these areas (Sugarloaf Mountains) are prone to landslides. Ministry officials don’t just care! All they care about is the money they make …… ..When disaster strikes, the death toll will be unprecedented! “
After the tragedy, President Ernest Bai Koroma said:
“Many of our compatriots have lost their lives, many more seriously injured and billions of leones of property have been destroyed by floods and landslides. . . With a heavy heart, I offer my sincere condolences to the bereaved families.
Wasn’t it too little too late, after more than a thousand people died in a preventable accident?
Aburi / Peduase Hills
As a child, I was fascinated by the winding road from Ayi-Mensah to Peduase to Aburi. The beautiful dense tropical forest that covered the hill was particularly pleasing to me. Today, I am uncomfortable on this road!
The hill has been stripped of the vegetation that binds the ground and offers protection against possible landslides, and replaced with chic houses built in a rather unexpected and cacophonous way.
TV / newspaper reports have warned of the imminent danger if nothing is done immediately.
Do we wait to reproduce the Sierra Leonean tragedy followed by copious commiserations?
As early as 1723, did not the British physician Dr Thomas Fuller create the expression “a point in time saves nine?”
Weija is a disaster waiting to happen, if not verified now! It is amazing how people got permits to build houses directly downstream of the dam with obvious flood risk. Meanwhile, the conquest of sand takes place there.
On the subject of the tragic “acts of God” / force majeure, my deepest condolences go out to the families of my eleven colleagues in arms who died in the tragic plane crash in Kaduna, Nigeria.
Likewise, I sympathize with the people killed and displaced in Goma, DRC, following the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano.
On potential self-inflicted injuries, stripping the Peduase / Aburi hills of their natural cover of vegetation that binds the ground together, for houses, is a time bomb, if left unchecked. The same goes for the settlements of Weija Dam. Do we wait for them to happen and declare the “acts of God”?
Gossip after a tragedy is useless.
Where’s the leadership?
Ghanaians, wake up!
Gen. From brigade Dan Frimpong (Rtd)
Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association
President of the council
University College of Family Health
Source: Gen. From brigade Dan Frimpong (Rtd) / [email protected]
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