Tragedy: Over a Dozen Feared Dead as Building Collapses in Cantonments, Ghana

It is very unfortunate that tragedies caused by government and individuals’ shortcomings have become so common in Ghana that they no longer come with the kind of shock that such tragedies are characterized with. In fact, they seem to be no more news. Poor infrastructural facilities, poor housing and drainage systems, lack of implementation of building permit policies and so many other factors have caused numerous mishaps and heartbreaking losses to Ghanaians.

See: Breaking News: Gas Station Explosion Death Toll Reaches 175

While the country is still mourning the over 150 lives lost in the June 3 fire and flood disaster, another tragedy struck on July 25, that is on Saturday. A 3 storey building under construction at the cantonments area of Ghana collapsed. This is sadly, one of those tragedies that would have been avoided if the people concerned  were careful enough. It was reported that neighbours who noticed the danger posed by the building had earlier on laid complaints to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), but the owner of the house, one Mr. Omari paid no heed to AMA’s warnings to him to stop work. The AMA recalled that they served him notices three consecutive times to stop work but they yielded no results. The cause of the collaspse was traced to weak and cracked pillars which were not strong enough to hold the building. This was reported to the owner of the building, but he waved it aside as nothing. The fears and anxiety of the nearby residents became a reality when on Saturday, the building came down with a deafening sound!

Narrating the incident to the Daily Graphic, an eyewitness, Kwame Tawiah, 28, who lives opposite the hotel, said he heard a loud noise around 4:30 a.m. only to discover that the hotel had caved in when he stepped out to ascertain what had caused that loud sound.

When I heard the sound, I rushed outside to see if i could help but it was beyond me,” he said.

Another neighbor who gave his name only as Bala said he shared a wall with the building but what he heard were shouts and wailings by other tenants for help.

When I heard the noise I opened my window, only to find out that the building I had seen the night before had collapsed,” Philip Arthur, an eyewitness said.

The Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Fire Service, NADMO, the Red Cross Society and the AMA were called to the site to help rescue victims of the incident. As at yesterday, three persons has been confirmed dead, 18 hospitalized and an unknown number still trapped in the rubble. It was reported that most of the victims were laborers who were at the construction site, numbering about 30. Four, out of the hospitalized people did not sustain serious injuries and were discharged yesterday.

It could be recalled that a similar incident took place about 3 years ago when a six-storey shopping centre belonging to Melcom collapsed at Achimota in Accra on November 7, 2012. The incident left 14 people dead, while 70 sustained various degrees of injury.

Sadly enough, nothing significant has been done over these years to control and stop these kind of incidents.