The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) will disburse $200,000 (GH¢1.05 million) to 96 victims and bereaved families of the June 3 disaster, who have not received any benefit from the government. The Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, set up a Special Disbursement Committee in March this year to identify all persons who had not received support, pool all pledges and donations and disburse the money to the victims of the June 3, 2015 disaster.
The Director of Relief of the NADMO, who doubles as the Secretary to the committee, Mr Mahamudu Emmanuel Andani, made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday.
He said the $200,000 was a donation from the government of Benin to support the victims of the June 3 disaster which had been idle since. The disbursement is expected to be done next week.
June 3 disaster
On June 3, 2015, Ghana was hit with one of the deadliest disasters in its history.
More than 100 people, who were seeking shelter at the Circle GOIL Filling Station, died in an explosion and a blaze after a downpour. The rain caused leaked fuel from underground tanks at the station to float on the surface of the flood waters and a spark resulted in a fire that killed many and caused varying degrees of injury on others.
Property worth millions of cedis was also destroyed.
Many survivors, who were previously self-sufficient, now rely on the benevolence of people to survive, as some lost their livelihoods. Othe victims have also complained that support promised them by the state and other organisations had not been fulfilled.
According to Mr Andani, the government supported some of the victims and bereaved families after the incident, but others could not be supported due to financial constraints.
He explained that 100 people died as a result of the disaster, out of which 84 families of the deceased received support from the government at the time of the incident.
Also, 11 out of 55 people, who were severely injured, received support from the government, while five victims, who had minor injuries also received support from the government at the time of the incident.
He indicated, therefore, that the current disbursement would be given to those who did not receive any support from the government at the time of the incident.
Mr Andani explained that 16 people, who were the next of kin of some of the deceased, 44 and 36 injured persons made up of those with severe and minor injuries, respectively, would receive allocations from the fund.
Although the committee was tasked to collaborate with all groups, organisations and NGOs that raised funds in support of the victims for disbursement, it had not received any funds from organisations yet, Mr Andani revealed.
He said the committee was, however, liaising with some of the organisations to see how they could raise the money they pledged to support the disaster victims.
One victim still on admission
He noted that one victim, who was still on admission at the 37 Military Hospital since 2015, for instance, would receive about GH¢30,000 to clear his medical bills at the hospital.
On how the victims were going to be identified, Mr Andani said the beneficiaries would come with the medical bills and death certifications to identify themselves before they would be given the money.
Additionally, he said, the committee was working with the associations of the surviving victims to identify those who should benefit from the money.
He gave an assurance that the money would be disbursed appropriately to the survivors.
“No money for surgery”
In an interview with one of the victims, Mr Gershon Ahama, who experienced severe injury as a result of the disaster, he told the Daily Graphic that life had been extremely difficult for him and his family, as he could not work due to a fracture of the leg.
As a driver, who worked where the disaster occurred, he said he tried to escape the fire by jumping which led to the fracture.
“I initially went to a herbal clinic where I was treated, but it didn’t work after one year and nine months. I spent everything I had there, but could not get any results. At the herbal clinic, I was paying GH¢30 every day for treatment,” he said.
Later, he went to the St. Joseph’s Orthopaedic Hospital in Koforidua, where they demanded GH¢5,000 as deposit for surgery to repair the fractured leg.
But due to financial challenges, Mr Ahama said, he had not been able to raise the money for the surgery and so he was walking with the aid of crutches.
“Someone even offered to get me a car to use for a transport business, but due to my condition, that offer has been given to another person and I am currently home not working, but I have a family to take care of,” he said.
“My children’s dream shattered”
Two of his four children, who had completed senior high school at the time of the disaster and were preparing to continue to the tertiary level, had their dreams shattered as there was no money to pay for their fess, while the other two were still in Class Three and Six, respectively, he said.
When asked if he had received any help from the government or any organisation, he said the only thing he got since the incident was a bag of rice from NADMO.
When the reporter told him about the disbursement, Mr Ahama, who obviously did not know about it, expressed the hope that he would get some money for his surgery. NADMO yesterday published the names of some of the victims expected to receive support from them.
The list included people with minor and severe injuries, as well as the deceased whose family members had not received any support from the government.