Black Wednesday… many feared dead in Melcom building
Report by Daniel Nonor
Scores of people are still feared trapped under debris, after a six-storey shopping mall, located at Achimota and a rented property of Melcom Group of Companies, collapsed in the early hours of yesterday.
Information gathered by The Chronicle indicates that about 60 workers at the mall had reported to duty, including an unspecified number of shoppers, were in the building when it collapsed on them without warning.
A combined team of security personnel managed to rescue 44 people from the collapsed building, with three deaths recorded, at the time of going to press.
Of the rescued victims, 20 were sent to the Achimota Hospital, 13 to the 37 Military Hospital, four to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, and another to the Police Hospital.
A statement issued by the management of Melcom Limited and posted on the company’s facebook wall, expressed their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy, and promised of intensify efforts to rescue those trapped in the debris.
“We are doing everything possible to see that help reaches those who need it. Our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies go to the families of those who may have lost their lives,” the company noted.
President John Dramani Mahama cut short his campaign tour to Bawku to visit the disaster area, where he was briefed about the incident, and progress of rescue work.
The President ordered a 24 hour rescue mission to enable a thorough search through the debris, to ensure that all who might have survived the wreckage were rescued.
The President also assured rescue workers of logistical support to help their efforts. “We have received messages from a few governments, and we have also received offers of assistance from one or two friendly government(s) that have specialised crew that are able to deal with this, some dealt with some earthquake situations, and so I have accepted that offer of assistance,” the President noted.
The President, however, emphasised that those whose negligence caused the accident would be dealt with accordingly. “Whoever is responsible for this negligence here will pay a price,” the President said at the scene of the accident
Earlier, the Vice President Amissah Arthur and a high powered government delegation visited the scene of the accident.
A delegation from the opposition New Patriotic Party, led by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, also visited at the scene to assess the situation firsthand, and to assess the extent of work in rescuing those trapped under the wreckage.
Some residents in the area, at the time of the accident, tried effortlessly to rescue those trapped under the rubble using crude methods such as trying to lift huge concrete pillars with their bare hands.
Alas, while rescue efforts were on-going, others had their priorities on scavenging for items they could salvage from the wreckage, until the police and other security personnel came in to ensure sanity at the scene.
The incident drew thousands of curious onlookers who thronged the place to catch a glimpse of the accident and in the process were thwarting rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, a combined team of security personnel with heavy excavators and ambulance services were still at the scene intensifying rescue efforts in a desperate attempt to save the remaining trapped workers under the rubble at the time of going to press.
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