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Gov’t donates GHC200K to victims of Batabi Church building disaster

The government has donated GHC200,000 to victims of the church building collapse at Akyem Batabi in the Eastern Region.

Vice president Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, who led a delegation to the community on Sunday as part of his three-day campaign tour of the region, made the donation.

“This donation is just for starters, and then we shall see the way forward. The DCE shall oversee the sharing of the money,” Dr. Bawumia said while commiserating with the survivors and the bereaved families at a durbar.

The Chief of Akyem Batabi, Barima Oppong Kyekyeku II, expressed his gratitude to the government for its gesture.

Background

The collapse of the uncompleted three-storey church building occurred Tuesday, October 20, 2020, at about 2:30 pm.

Prophet Akoa Isaac had told Police in his statement that he was sick and lying in his residence on the same compound of the Church when he heard the building collapse.

He said he was told that about 56 worshippers were in and around the building fasting and praying when the incident occurred.

According to one of the survivors, “we were resting in the church building after fasting and prayers so whilst resting, we heard portions of the building coming down. We were over 60 in the building so we started running away. Some of the people managed to escape but others were trapped”.

Rescue Operation

The Rescue Team made up of personnel from the National Disaster Management Organization, NADMO, Military, Ghana National Fire Service, Police, Ambulance Service, BNI, GHS, National Security and some volunteers ended the four-day rescue operation on Friday, October 23, 2020.

Thirty victims were retrieved when the operation was brought to a close. 22 of them had died, while eight survived.

The deceased comprised  12 women, 9 men and a two-year-old baby girl.

The Ghana Air Force provided the sniffer dogs during the early hours of Friday to check for possible bodies covered by the debris.

The team searched for the last victim- a woman reported missing but was not found under the rubble hence Church leaders have been asked to inform the National Disaster Management Organisation, NADMO, whenever they smell a stench from the disaster scene.

Decommissioning the rescue team, the Director-General of NADMO, Eric Nana Agyeman Prempeh, commended the rescue team made up of 210 personnel from various security agencies, and operators of four excavators, seven haulage tipper truck vehicles and 2 payloaders for working tirelessly.

He charged bodies responsible for regulating the construction of buildings to intensify their monitoring regimes to enable them proactively avert the re-occurrence of such incident.

Some residents say construction of the Church building started in 1996 hence its structural integrity continued to weaken.

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