Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has called on Ghanaians to support Appiatse victims in their time of grief.
Thirteen have been confirmed dead and 59 others injured following a massive explosion in the mining community close to Bogoso in the Western Region.
About 500 homes and 139 families were affected by the tragic incident on Thursday, 20 January 2022.
So far, 42 are receiving treatment, with the others in critical condition at various health facilities.
In a statement expressing his condolence to the affected families, the Speaker of Parliament implored the public to remember the victims in their prayers.
“I received with shock and sadness news of an accident that resulted in the tragic loss of lives, varying degrees of injury, and the loss of property in the town of Appiate, near Bogoso in the Western Region.
“I offer my condolences and prayers to the victims and their families. Their pain and grief is unimaginable. But the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18).
He urged neighbouring communities to be supportive at such a critical time as this will go a long way in relieving their hurdles.
“I also encourage those in adjoining communities to open their doors to them. And to the rest of Ghanaians to offer whatever support they can by way of food, water, building materials, clothing, and anything essential to ease the grief of our fellow countrymen and women.”
“Let us, in the proverbial Ghanaian spirit of love and hospitality, help them to rebuild their lives.”
A preliminary investigation by the Ghana Police Service revealed that a DAF truck, with registration number WR 2252-18, was conveying explosive material from MAXAM Company, Tarkwa, to Chirano Gold Mines in the Western North Region.
A motorcycle rider from the opposite direction ran under the van when it got to a section of the road between Bogoso and Bawdie.
The motorcycle caught fire and ignited the van, which exploded into flames.
An ECG transformer in close range was also destroyed in the process.
The explosion occurred at about 1:30 pm on 20 January 2022 and left a crater in the middle of the town.
Rescued victims are on admission at various hospitals and clinics within the Bogoso Municipality.
Consequently, a National Emergency Response Mechanism has been activated with personnel from the Police Service, Fire Service, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ghana Health Service, National Ambulance Service, the Municipal Authority, and residents involved in providing support.
Mr Oppong-Nkrumah explained that additional personnel and resources had been dispatched to the community to support the response effort.
An alternative route has been created to facilitate the movement of stranded vehicles plying that route.
All hospitals within the vicinity are being used to treat injured persons, and an evacuation plan has been activated to move those in critical condition to medical facilities in Accra so they can get the needed assistance.
“To forestall a secondary explosion, a joint team of police and military explosion experts has been deployed to examine the situation and put in place the requisite measures.
“Early reports indicate that several houses and structures in sections of the town have been destroyed and plans have been put in place to ensure that stranded community members are catered for in the coming days”.
Mr Oppong-Nkrumah added that President Akufo-Addo would visit Appiatse to assess the effectiveness of the response effort.
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”.
The law enforcement agency has advised persons “to move out of the area to nearby towns for their safety while recovery efforts are underway”.