Regional News of Friday, 9 November 2012

Source: GNA

Gov't sets up temporary information centre at disaster site

Government on Friday set up a temporary information centre linked up to two hot-line numbers: 023 4725999 and 026 4918886 as part of the search and rescue mission at the Achimota Melcom disaster site to ensure constant information flow.

The government also released an amount of GHc20,000.00, 100 cartons of mineral water and 20 cartons of soft drinks to assist the operation, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofu, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development stated in Accra.

The minister who presented the items at the disaster site, commended the rescue team for their resilience and dedication to duty.

He also commended the public for the support to the rescue team.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, to the Ghana News Agency appealed to those who reside within the Achimota community and its immediate environs and who have relations who have gone missing over the last 48 hours to call the contact numbers in order to assist the rescue mission.

In a related development, the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, said on Friday that the collapsed Melcom Shopping centre at Achimota was not constructed under his watch. He said the building was started in 1997 and completed in 2008.

“I took office in May 2009 so evidently this construction did not occur under my watch; there was no way I, as Mayor of the city, will be part of any negligence so as to compromise on the safety of the public,” he said.

Dr. Vanderpuije said public safety had always been his watchword and the hallmark of his responsibility as chief executive of Accra.

“Whether I am working on market issues, decongestion of the city, floods, educational development, health and overall construction development within the city, public safety is always at the back of my mind.”

There have been calls by some people for the Mayor to quit in the face of the shoddy work that caused the building to collapse last Wednesday morning. At least nine people have died while 78 have been rescued from the rubble of the five-storey building housing the Melcom shopping centre at Achimota in Accra.

A task force made up of the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service, National Disaster Management Organisation and the National Ambulance Service have been joined by an 18-member Israeli team as they race against time to rescue more people from the ruins of the building.