The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has said that it is bringing the search and rescue exercise carried out at the collapsed church at Akyem Batabi in the Eastern Region to an end today, October 23, 2020.
According to the Manager in Charge of Operations at Eastern Region, NADMO, Mr Alfred Owiredu Agyemang, the organisation and its stakeholders have searched everywhere possible to rescue the people and therefore will finalise the search today.
The uncompleted building of the Church of Prosperity collapsed on Tuesday while members were worshipping.
So far, about 22 persons have been confirmed dead out of the 30 that were retrieved.
Meanwhile, it is alleged that the number of persons at the church when the incident occurred was more than 61 and not less as speculated earlier.
Speaking on the AM Drive, hosted by Ekourba Gyasi on Atinka 104.7 FM, Mr Owiredu Agyeman said ,”We worked throughout last night to recover the people including one female child. We are bringing to an end the search and rescue carried out by NADMO, and other stakeholders, Akyease Jungle Welfare, volunteers, Ghana Police service among others. We have searched everywhere .”
However, he said per the information given to them by the church members, it is left with one woman they have not been able to find, explaining that she is the mother of the girl who was found around 11.p.m Thursday.
“For the work we have done, all the four excavators have searched everywhere to the central point, and it is likely that nobody is there. Looking at the debris, if we want to clear everything, it will take us not less than one week. We worked throughout the night, we found the baby but we have not found her mother,” he said.
Mr Owiredu Agyemang confirmed that 22 bodies have been recovered so while 8 persons have been rescued .
He said 10 out of the 22 are males whilst 12 are females which include a girl who is less than 2 years.
For the speculated 61, he said some escaped and so not all the 61 were trapped under the collapsed building.
“It is not easy trying to salvage situations like these, it is a collective responsibility and so when disasters like these occur, it behoves on all stakeholders to come together to solve it ,” said.
Mr Owiredu Agyemang complained that the rent of the equipment being used to rescue the people were expensive and therefore NADMO cannot afford it for a long time.
He said the owners of the equipment which was sent from Accra to the Eastern Region charge more than GHS 15,000 per day and therefore NADMO does not have the funds to pay for the cost if it has to be on the site for more days.
“When things like these happen and you have the equipment to help, you can offer it to us to work with it even as a corporate social responsibility to help the nation. We need equipment to clear the debris, and we are asking people to volunteer when such things occur,” he said.
Mr Owiredu Agyemang added,”You need trucks, Crane loaders, to be able to remove the debris and imagine if they all want to take money from us, how do we fund it, because the assembly provides fuel but we need more to be able to do it.”
Ghana| Atinkaonline.com| Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori