Twenty of the 28 people so far retrieved from the rubble of the collapsed Church of Prosperity building at Akyem Batabi in the Asene – Manso – Akroso District in the Eastern Region since the disaster occurred last Tuesday have been pronounced dead.
They are made up of 10 males and 10 females.
Out of the eight people who are alive, six of them have been treated and discharged from the Oda Government Hospital while one of them is on admission at the same health facility while the other survivor has been transferred to St. Dominic Hospital at Akwatia for intensive health care.
As of midday Thursday, more than half of the debris had been cleared.
The Director of Inspectorate at the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Headquarters in Accra, Mr. Richard Amo Yartey made these known at a news conference to update the media at Akyem Batabi Thursday.
He said six dead bodies were retrieved from the rubble last Tuesday, 10 others were retrieved Wednesday while four were retrieved Thursday, reports Graphic Online’s Samuel Kyei-Boateng.
Mr. Lartey commended the rescue team, comprising the staff of NADMO, the Ghana National Fire Service, National Ambulance Service, the police and soldiers from the 48 Engineers Regiment and Achiase Jungle Welfare School as well as volunteers from the neighboring communities for doing a yeoman’s job in the search and rescue mission.
He was also grateful to Memphis Metropolitan Limited for abandoning its road construction project and released two excavators and six tipper trucks for the exercise.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr. Eric Kwakye Darfour who has been to the disaster scene since last Tuesday, was full of praise for 37-year old Oda based taxi driver, Mr. Kwabena Boahene aka La Cote D’ Ivoire for spearheading the retrieval of the 28 people trapped under the collapsed building.
Mr. Darfour noted with concern that the uncompleted five storey building was started in 1997 without the use a professional estate developer.
Instead, the property owner relied on cheap labour of his inexperienced church members for the project , hence the disaster.
He, therefore, urged other estate developers to employ qualified professionals and use quality materials for their buildings to help avoid the recurrence of such disasters.
Mr. Padmore Kofi Okyere, the uncle of the property owner acted as the spokesman for his nephew and expressed his heartfelt sympathy for the bereaved families.
He stressed that even though he is a leading member of the church, he could not give the actual number of the members in the church building at the time of the disaster.
Mr. Okyere, however, promised to update the Regional Minister after consultation with the pastors and other leading members of the church.
The property owner, who is the founder and leader of the Church of Prosperity, Prophet Isaac Ofori a.k.a. Akoa Issac, is currently very ill and traumatised by the disaster, Mr Okyere said.
Mr. Darfour told him that the government would take a decision on the burial of the deceased persons and at the appropriate time he would keep them informed.
The leader of the 48 Engineers Regiment, Lt.Col. Michael Kwame Ntim said he and his men had been at the disaster scene for the past 48 hours and would stay there until the last person was retrieved alive or dead.
He urged the journalists to be circumspect in their reportage in order to not create unnecessary tension.
For his part, Lt. Col. Peter Amoah, the Commanding Officer of the Achiase Jungle Warfare School said he and his men had been to the disaster scene since October 20, 2020 to cordon off all undesirable elements and to maintain security.
He said they would continue to provide security when the other rescue mission teams leave the place.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Asene-Manso-Akroso, Mr. Alex Incoom urged family members to help identify the dead people who had been retrieved from the rubble.
The scene at the church premises was solemn with many people who lost the relatives wailing uncontrollably.
A lady resident at Akyem Aperade, Ms. Regina Tettey who wept bitterly Wednesday and Thursday on realising that her senior sister, Vivian Tettey was among the dead, could not control her tears despite being consoled by friends.
She said last Sunday, the sister sent her 10-year old son to Aperade through a church member with the explanation that they were engaged on a three-day fasting and prayers for Prophet Akoa Isaac who was seriously ill.