Waking up this morning was painful. All day yesterday, we were onlookers to what seemed like the most unnecessary catastrophe and its excruciatingly slow rescuing process, still ongoing. A six storey building holding a department store collapsed in the morning trapping and crushing many inside.
Exactly when and how many are affected, we still do not know. Some reports say the building collapsed just as the store was about to open other reports say when it had already opened and hence the scale of this disaster is still unknown.
The news spread like wildfire around the globe, but under the rubble our sisters and brothers were – and are – still stuck. The rescuing scene seemed chaotic – it was broadcast live on TV. As one of Ghana’s most popular shops had burst open in a bustling business area, there was a large crowd surrounding the scene that seemed curious and in some cases in shock. We had scattered reports about looting, equipments missing, and cracks in the building seen and ignored.
This morning the report came that the building had no building permit. A six storey building smack in the middle of a vivid business area. No building permit. What do we make of this?
On Twitter the discussion flowed back and forth:
— Sankrenkyi (@Kutinhio) November 7, 2012
Radiostation Joy FM asked on Facebook:
“The Collapsed MELCOM Shop in Achimota like Many Other Disasters, Has Got Ghana Talking. But As We Talk, More Such Weak Structures Are Left Standing and Being Used…. Tell Us Of Disasters Which You Know Are Just Waiting To Happen in Ghana!”
Their post had 136 comments last time I checked. Some of the comments cover other commercial buildings and even schools!
This morning, this is all I can think about. Is the Melcom collapse not a freak accident, but the tip of the iceberg? Are there hundreds or thousands of similar death traps masking as buildings open to the public out there?
Why do Ghanaians have to risk their lives when going to work, when going to buy everyday items, when attending school?
The institutions to maintain standards, to follow the laws are there, but why are they failing Ghanaians and who is in charge?
Follow #Melcomcollapse on Twitter for updates.
Pic borrowed from Talk of GH.