Thursday, 8 November 2012

melcom disaster: survivors tell their story+images

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Bernice Dogbe
One of the victims of the Melcom Shopping Mall collapse, Bernice Dogbe, a cashier at the mall has narrated her ordeal during the collapse of the building.

“We were at our morning devotion, when i realised that the pillar I was standing by was cracking…all I realised was that the building had fallen, and I was under rubbles.

She said there were over 50 staff members in the building at the time. Some were doing some work in the other floors, but the rest of us were all together having our daily morning devotion.

“When I heard the cracking, it didn’t even take two minutes before the building just collapsed. It took a long while before I was eventually rescued. I was helped by one of the rescuers who saw my hand.”

“We were many where I was, and we struggled to come out.”

She said she had earlier seen the cracks about three days ago when she was decorating the pillars. But she personally did not report it.

Another survivor, Evelyn, a security personnel at the Melcom Shopping Mall, broke her leg and was receiving treatment at the Achimota Hospital. She disclosed that a few days ago, some of the workers had seen cracks on pillars of the building. After lodging a complaint to the managers, they were asked to take pictures of it, which they did. However, they were later told that the pictures needed to be taken to Melcom’s head office for approval before the necessary renovations would be done. But they never heard anything about it until the collapse.

Her story confirms an earlier one by another survivor, a male security personnel who was the first to be rescued. Although he did not want to speak after his rescue, he later said he had also seen the cracks on the pillars and confirmed that pictures were taken of it to be sent to the head office.

Investigations are yet to begin as to what caused the sudden collapse of the building, which was commissioned only some months ago.

More Rescues

A strong rescue team, made up of Ghana Fire Service, Armed Forces,Police Service, Ambulance Service and National Sanitation Task Force worked throughout the night and into the morning, making frantic efforts to rescue the trapped victims.

As at Thursday morning, 71 of them had been rescued and four had been confirmed dead. Most of the rescued have been conveyed to various hospitals including the Achimota, 37 and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

Meanwhile, President John Dramani Mahama has hinted that those found culpable in the disaster will be held accountable and dealt with accordingly.


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