Earthquake Hazard Prevention and Mitigation in the West African Sub-Region

A few major earthquakes and countless minor ones have occurred in recent times in the West African sub-region. The most destructive ones occurred in the Accra region of Ghana and in northwestern Guinea.

The Cameroun volcanic line is another zone where several earthquakes have occurred in the past. There is, in general, a very low level of seismic hazard awareness among the inhabitants of the area.

There is hardly a government in the region that has mapped-out strategies for long-term response to seismic risk, and presently the requisite database for a proper assessment of the seismic risk in the region is lacking.

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Methods of improving post-disaster response and other suggestions towards earthquake hazard mitigation are discussed. The problem of evolving feasible building codes for the West African countries are compounded by differing geological and soil conditions, differences in the methods of design and construction of buildings, varied traditions and customs, and differences in the level of seismic activities within the region.

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