The National Disaster Management Organization has began investigating circumstances that led to the burning of some stalls at the Kwame Nkrumah Pedestrian Mall Wednesday evening.
Traders whose wares, worth millions of Ghana Cedis were destroyed are still weeping and counting their loss, hours after the raging fire reduced their stalls to ashes.
The fire which started around 7pm on Wednesday January 16, 2019 has its cause officially unknown.
Although no casualties were recorded, the traders have lamented the late arrival of the fire service and their inefficiency in regulating the fire.
Promising a speedy assessment of the situation, Director-General for National Disaster Management Organization Mr. Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh said the market will be closed down for the next four days to allow the fire service and police work on a comprehensive report.
According to them, while NADMO is ready to help the affected victims, measures must be put in place to avert any subsequent outbreak.
“We have had a stakeholders meeting with NADMO coordinating and this meeting had the Member of Parliament, police and fire service present. The conclusion to it is that the market women who are affected should stay out of the market to allow proper investigations to go on. This is the fourth time this has happened and we cannot move on as a nation without identifying what really is the cause. So we find that out and we sit down with the market managers and executives to put up preventive measures. We have given them till Monday because by then all the reports will be ready, we will meet here and conclude on the way forward. So we are closing the market from now till Monday.” He said.
The Member Of Parliament for Klottey Korle, Zanetor Agyeman-Rawling adding her voice said the constituency was going to organise a durbar so petty rivalry and issues among the traders will be addressed.
According to her, as stakeholders, the traders needed to come together and be more security conscious so market fires which have become a norm in Ghana will be a thing of the past.
“When a situation like this happens you need to involve the stakeholders and the traders are the majority stakeholders in this case. Sometimes the worry is that, keeping the market close will lead to a protest but the fact is if we communicate effectively and they are part of the process and understand that this is for their safety, their support will be given. Some of the issues that the fire service raised are the fact that there are no hydrants and these must also be looked at. Access to the market is so difficult and we are actually thankful this did not happen during the day because that may have even led to a stampede and death. There are a lot of things that are not being done properly and we are going to offer our support to the executives to enforce some of these things. This fire did not burn a shop based on the political party of its owner so we must talk to the people that they are one and we all need to work together to resolve this. A lot of work needs to be done. This should be awake up call that this should not happen anywhere else.”
But speaking to ghanaweb.com, the devastated traders called for a speedy resolution to their plights.
This according to them is because most of the traders are operating their businesses with loans from banks and family members and would have to pay back within the shortest possible time.
Currently over a hundred and fifty shops are believed to have been gutted by the fire which is rumoured to have been caused by gas cylinders used by chop bar operators in the market.