Families which lost their relatives and individuals who sustained injuries in the twin flood and fire disaster in Accra on June 3, 2015, have each been paid GHS10,000 as compensation, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, has said.
Some 150 persons who had sought shelter at a GOIL Filling Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle from the rains that had poured for several hours were charred to death in an explosion when water seeped into the underground tanks of the fuel station, and displaced the fuel which later ignited and caused a huge explosion. Others were drowned as they made efforts to escape the high waters in other parts of the city.
Speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson on Accra100.5FM Friday June 3 on the first anniversary of the disaster, Mr Afotey Agbo said, as part of measures to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy, Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) had intensified education on sanitation, with emphasis on sensitisation of residents against practices that result in congestion of drains.
Mr Afotey Agbo, who is also MP for Kpone Katamanso, disclosed that all affected families had been compensated from the June 3 Disaster Fund. Asked whether the committee had encountered any difficulties with identifying victims and paying the appropriate amounts, the regional minister said: “It’s been smooth. …As I speak to you, I do not think there is any affected person who has not received his money. Everyone has received exactly what was due him. So, everything is OK.”
He explained that persons were identified from letters issued them by hospitals after treatment for burns and other injuries, while families which lost relatives in the disaster were also issued letters from those health facilities that received such bodies.
His claim of full compensation of victims contrasts with the account of a young woman, Rita, who spoke on the same programme a day earlier. Ruth, who lost two members of her family – her sister and aunt – had sustained burns and bruises when she and seven others of her family were compelled to jump down from the first floor of their apartment, which bordered the fuel station that caught fire that night. The blaze had spread to their house and was closing in on them.
Ruth ended up at the 37 Military Hospital where she was treated and later discharged and reunited with her family, five of whom had also sustained burns.
“It’s not as if we have not taken any steps to get something [from the state] but we have received nothing,” Ruth explained. She said in their efforts to get some compensation from the state, they had been tossed from NADMO to the Ministry for the Interior, and subsequently to the Finance Ministry, all to no avail.