General News Sun, 12 Jun 2005

Disaster hit Tema, rains cause havoc, three killed

Baatsonaa, (GAR) June 12, GNA - Three people, including a ten-year old pupil were on Saturday killed instantly in two separate incidents at Baatsona near Tema during the heavy downpour that hit Tema. The disaster occurred almost simultaneously between 1600 Hrs and 1700 hrs.

In the first incident two workers among others working on a warehouse under construction died when the whole project collapsed on them. The names of the dead were given as only Kwadwo and Kwame by eyewitnesses who are still determined to lynch the owner of the project, Mr Collins Okley, owner of Collins Dry Gin at Nungua who according to them was present when the incident occurred but vanished immediately. Their bodies have been deposited at the mortuary while the injured were rushed to various hospitals in Tema and the 37 Military hospital in Accra.

Mr Isaac Lamptey, Development Control Officer of the Engineers Department of the Tema Municipal Assembly told newsmen that Mr Okley ignored both verbal and written warnings to cease work for the appropriate thing to be done but went ahead to construct it during odd periods.

A warning letter written on March 17, 2005 and signed by the Acting Tema Municipal Engineer Mr. Samuel Akoto to Mr. Okley was shown to newsmen at the disaster scene. Mr Lamptey described the work on the project as shoddy because it had structural defects like shallow and weak foundation; the iron rods are so thin and small in the columns while the mortar had more sand than cement.

Ideally, the Development Control Officer said before a project takes off, the developer has to process documents with the Tema Development Corporation, which has to be satisfied with the preliminary structural details of the project. Thereafter the developer needed to take permit from the TMA before the project begins but Mr. Okley ignored that and even when he was prompted, he failed to contact the TMA and rather went back to the TDC for regularisation and continued with the project. Mr Lamptey said debarring the rains the building would have suffered problems because of the defects.

In the second incident, a tall Radio Communication Tower, collapsed and destroyed parts of four nearby houses and finally landed on a family in a passing vehicle killing one and injuring two others who are now hospitalised. The dead was identified as Master Isaac Sori, a ten-year old pupil of Association International school in Accra and the injured Madam Anesa Yakubu Sori and Mr Joseph Sori.

Mallam Issa, a cousin of the injured told the GNA that the victims came to visit him at his house at the Coastal Estate at Baatsonaa and while they sat in their vehicle, an Isuzu with registration number GR 3219 B was ready to depart when the disaster struck. Mr Akoto, the Municipal Engineer said such towers need to be erected about 30 meters away from buildings but it was not so in the case of this one. He showed newsmen several letters he had written to owners of such towers for a meeting on the appropriate thing to do.

Meanhwile, Mr George Scott, Tema Municipal Co-ordinating Director who went round to inspect the disaster expressed his condolence to the bereaved family and said the TMA would take steps to rehabilitate the affected families. He was accompanied by officials of the Tema National Disaster Management Organisation.

Source: GNA