Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Fatalities Rise in Tragic Ghana Building Collapse - Faulty Construction Suspected
A five-story shopping center which crashed down early Wednesday, took 9 lives, according to Ghana's National Disaster Management Organization, with 75 people people removed from the rubble with injuries. The building went up just nine months ago in a bustling suburb of Ghana's capital.
It was part of the Melcom chain owned by Indian immigrant magnate Bhagwan Khubchandani.
The collapse trapped mainly staff of the company, according to Mr Arvinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Melcom Group of Companies.
Kate Adobaya, a spokeswoman for Ghana's National Disaster Management Organization, blamed the building collapse on structural weakness.
"The foundation was not good enough," she said, adding that crews worked in shifts through the night to search for other possible victims.
Family members could be seen at the site earlier in the day attempting to call relatives who could be trapped, while scores of rescue workers at the scene sought to clear debris and get oxygen masks to victims.
A man who saw his brother being put in an ambulance on a stretcher yelled out in agony: "He can't move! He can't move!"
The store sells a variety of cheap, imported household goods and appliances that are popular with working-class Ghanaians.
Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, who went to the site on Wednesday, has declared the collapse of the building a national disaster.
An 18-man rescue team from Israel is expected in Accra with special equipment and sniffer dogs, according to a statement from President John Dramani Mahama's office.