Regional News of Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

NADMO's weakness exposed by Melcom disaster - Engineer

Technical Division Manager of Zoomlion Ghana, Mr Gershon Atieku-Dzandu, has called on the government to resource the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to enable it to effectively undertake rescue operations in times of disaster.

He noted that the inability of NADMO to marshal the appropriate equipment to the scene of the collapsed Melcom Shopping Centre recently exposed its weakness to effectively and efficiently deliver on its core mandate.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2012, Ghana was hit with a disaster when a five storey-shopping centre, the Achimota branch of Melcom Shopping complex in Accra, collapsed in the morning.

The building collapsed into a pile of rubble at about 9.45 a.m, when the employees were having their routine morning devotion before the start of business at 10a.m.

A rescue operation began immediately and for five days running, 81 people were extracted from the rubble. Fourteen could not make it, thus, 67 survived. Thirteen of the survivors as of last Tuesday were still on admission in various hospitals.

At the end of the exercise, 12 employees of Melcom were listed among the dead. One remains unaccounted for.

The emergency rescue team was composed of personnel 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.

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

Mr Atieku-Dzandu, speaking in an interview with at the disaster site said, NADMO was ill-equipped and that if it was well resourced in terms of equipment and structured rescue efforts could have led to more lives being saved.

He noted with concern that NADMO did not have the right equipment to carry through the rescue mission, for which reason it took the combined efforts of the other organisations to marshal equipment and machinery to undertake the exercise.

He said Zoomlion supported the operation with loaders and tippers as well as compressors and underscored the need for NADMO to have isolation materials (red tape) to cordon off disaster scenes from the public.

Mr Atieku-Dzandu who is a mechanical engineer advised civil engineers to come out with a building code to determine the state of buildings in the country, in order to appropriately advice whether or not they were suitable for occupation.