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The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament is appealing to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to extend Ghana’s humanitarian assistance and support to Indonesia following last Friday’s apocalyptic earthquake and tsunami which have so far claimed over 1,400 lives according to confirmed official reports.
The eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi was hit by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake on Friday the 28th of September 2018 and a subsequent tsunami that hurled water as high as 20 feet over the city of Palu.
Palu has been described as a mass grave site following the catastrophe with many giving up hope on the possibility of rescuing any more survivors. Palu’s airport remains damaged while roads, water systems and electricity have been destroyed. Unfortunately, analysts predict the death toll will rise.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo in the immediate aftermath requested the international community to come to his country’s aid with help not limited to financial support, food, water, clothing and rescue expertise.
So far, at least 25 Governments have responded, however, the Government of Ghana has been missing in action with no sign of following this country’s long established impressive reputation of being a nation with a heart and one that promptly stands up to be counted in times like this.
Indeed, from the financial aid of 10 million Pounds extended to distressed Guinea in the 1960s by President Kwame Nkrumah to the relief items sent to Japan by President Jerry John Rawlings following a devastating earthquake in the 1990s, then President John Evans Atta Mills’ $3million donation to Haiti after a 2010 earthquake, and quite recently President John Mahama’s medical support and made-in-Ghana products he personally delivered to the three Ebola ravaged countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in addition to offering Ghana to the United Nations as an international logistics centre.
Having waited for a week expecting our Government to show timely leadership in line with our nation’s illustrious tradition and realizing that Government appears to have no intention to send assistance to Indonesia even at this crucial hour, we are compelled to nudge our Government to wake up to Ghana’s moral obligation in the comity of nations.
The Minority notes sadly that last year it had to take our prompting to bring pressure to bear on Government after it’s initial inaction following the mudslide in Sierra Leone which claimed 1,141 lives.
We do not have to remind Government that Ghana and Indonesia have enjoyed many decades of strong diplomatic relations and shared a deep bond of bilateral cooperation which led to Indonesia granting visa free status to Ghanaians since 2016.
We must emphasize that we have noted recent admissions from both President Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta about the worrying state of Ghana’s economy and it’s negative impact on Ghanaians, therefore, the Minority is not insisting on a grand gesture or seeking to coerce Government to equal the example of the £3million, £2.6million or £2.4million donated by the UK, Australia and New Zealand respectively. In the same vein, our demand is not to force Government to necessarily compete with the donation of 1million dollars each by the CEOs of Google and Apple.
The Minority believes what matters most is the thought in reaching out to our friends in Indonesia with whatever we have. Undoubtedly, many Ghanaians including we in the Minority true to our quintessential Ghanaian nature of empathy and kindness will be willing to make donations if Government is minded to exercise leadership and rally all citizens considering that we all share a common humanity.
As they say: better late than never. Respectfully, we urge President Akufo-Addo to take action NOW.
Our thoughts and commiserations are with Indonesia in this most difficult hour. We shall continue to keep them in our prayers.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
MP, North Tongu
Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament.