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General News of Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Melcom will compensate bereaved families - Management

The management of Melcom Ghana Limited has given the assurance that the company would provide compensation packages to the families of persons who died following the collapse of the Achimota Melcom Shopping Complex.

Also to be provided for survivors of the disaster, is a counseling programme that would be rolled out to serve as a psychological boost to enable them recover quickly from the shock and return to work.

Presenting an update of the disaster in Accra Monday, a day after rescue operations came to an end last Sunday, the Public Relations (PRO) Officer of Melcom, Mr Richmond Oduro-Kwarteng, said the company had provided those still on admission with welfare packages to make them as comfortable as possible.

He added that they were currently receiving the best care in terms of medication and attention from the various hospitals.

The five-storey building collapsed at about 9 45 a.m on Wednesday, november 7, 2012, at a time when the employees were having their routine morning devotion before the start of business at 10a.m.

A combined emergency rescue team from the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana National Fire Service, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Ambulance Service, the National Disaster Management Organisation and other volunteer groups was quickly drawn up and went into operation at the disaster scene to rescue survivors buried in the rubble.

An eight-member team from the Rescue Unit of the Israeli Army who have since left Ghana, flew in with sniffer dogs to assist the Ghanaian rescue operation effort.

At the end of the five-day rescue operation, 81 people were extracted from the rubble. Fourteen of them were confirmed dead, thus 67 survived. Thirteen of the survivors are still on admission. According to Mr Oduro-Kwarteng, 12 employees of Melcom died while one cannot be traced.

He added that of the 63 staff who were assigned to the shop on the day of the incident, 18 escaped the tragedy.

He explained that those who were injured and have since been discharged from hospital, were provided transportation to return home and have also been encouraged to strictly follow up on their reviews, until they were fully recovered.

The PRO said more than 100 team members from the various departments of Melcom came together to provide immediate rescue and relief support stressing that “the entire Melcom family has been shaken by this tragic event.”

“Our energies and resources have been directed to save as many lives as possible and take care of the survivors who have suffered various degrees of injury,” Mr Oduro-Kwarteng stated.

He expressed appreciation to all the rescue teams for their effort and all who supported the rescue effort in several other ways.

The Chief Operating Officer of Melcom, Mr Arvinder Singh, said the company was covered by an insurance policy and thus employees were protected by the compensation Act and the labour law.

He indicated that the company was in talks with structural engineers to certify the state of buildings housing shops that were not built by Melcom and noted that the state of all shops belonging to the company were certified by international experts.

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