President Nana Akufo-Addo has expressed sorrow over the explosion in the Western Region that resulted in scores of deaths and injuries.
President Akufo-Addo commiserated with the bereaved families and wished the wounded speedy recovery in a Facebook post a few hours after the incident on Thursday [20 January 2022].
“It is a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident, and I extend, on behalf of Government, deep condolences to the families of the deceased, and I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” he posted.
Meanwhile, he has directed the rescue team to expedite their operation and provide relief to affected persons without delay.
“The Police, Armed Forces and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) are co-ordinating efforts to contain the situation, and I have also instructed NADMO to see to it that rapid relief is brought to residents of the town,” he added.
He assured the public that the “government will spare no effort to ensure a rapid return to a situation of normalcy for residents of Apiate”.
The blast on Thursday afternoon destroyed buildings and other structures, with many lifeless bodies scattered within the community.
Body parts of several deceased persons strewed along some roads while buildings were reduced to rubbles.
Drips, smears, and spatters of blood covered some spots as rescue efforts intensified to identify and provide medical attention to wounded victims.
A preliminary investigation by the Ghana Police Service revealed that a mining explosive vehicle moving from Tarkwa to Chirano mines collided with a motorcycle resulting in the explosion.
The blast left a crater in the middle of the town and the parts of the truck are yet to be located.
The law enforcement agency has advised persons “to move out of the area to nearby towns for their safety while recovery efforts are underway”.
Rescued victims are on admission at various hospitals and clinics within the Bogoso Municipality.
Police said in a statement that they “have taken charge of the situation providing security to enable the emergency workers including the Ghana National Fire Service, NADMO and the Ambulance Service to manage the situation”.
They also appealed to nearby towns to open up their classrooms, churches and other public places to accommodate surviving victims.
“Reinforcement of resources and personnel have been deployed to effectively handle the incident. We continue to urge the public to remain calm as we manage the situation. Further updates regarding the emergency evacuation of the injured will be communicated in due course,” the statement said.
The death toll is not immediately known, but the Director of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) for Prestea Huni-Valley, Francis Abeiku Yankah, has confirmed many casualties.
“I was returning from Prestea when I heard an explosion on my way. I started moving towards the scene after a journalist had called me on the phone to inform me about what had happened.
“Upon reaching the area, I saw complete devastation of the community called Apiate. As we speak, the community is dead; it cannot be inhabited by anyone.
“Ten lifeless bodies were lying down as a result of the explosion. The MCE, who was also informed about the news, quickly dispatched excavators to the scene to rescue trapped bodies after some buildings collapsed,” he told TV3.