Tragedy hit the Church of Prosperity at Akyem Batabi, near Oda in the Eastern Region, Tuesday afternoon when a five storey uncompleted church building collapsed on the members at a church service.
The Daily Graphic gathered at the scene that at least 64 members were in the building when it tumbled. As of press time, two dead bodies, both women, had been retrieved from the rubble while five others who were rescued with serious injuries were rushed to the Oda Government Hospital for medical attention. Thirty-eight other survivors were unhurt.
Rescuers, aided by two excavators, were encountering difficulty trying to cut through the mountain of debris in search of the remaining 19 others who were trapped. One of the deceased persons was identified as Afua Janet.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at the scene, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Asene-Manso-Akroso, Mr Alex Incoom, said he had information about the collapsed building around 2: 30 p.m. and rushed to the scene with the staff of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to rescue the trapped people.
He said considering the seriousness of the disaster, he called for reinforcement of NADMO staff from Oda as well as the various security agencies from Akyem Manso, Asene and Oda and two ambulances from Akyem Manso and Akyem Swedru. Mr Incoom said he initially mobilised one excavator from a road construction company working in the area, and later managed to secure an additional excavator, a pay loader and a backhoe to undertake the rescue exercise.
According to the DCE, he had reported the disaster to the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour. He said he also called for reinforcement from the Akyem Achiase Jungle Warfare School to help in retrieving the trapped persons..
Police came in
The Oda Municipal Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Mr. Daniel Kwabena Amoako, also led a team from his outfit to prevent the theft of property belonging to the disaster victims. A 38-year old survivor of the disaster, Madam Linda Asokor, who was weeping uncontrollably, said his brother, called Bani and sister by name Talata, were under the rubble and were yet to be retrieved.
Madam Akosua Konadu, a trader at Akyem Asene, said she managed to come out of the church building before the building crumbled. Mr David Okyere, the Birim Central Municipal Director of NADMO, who led the team of rescuers, appealed for more logistic support to enable NADMO to fight future disasters.