Mahama orders DNA test for unidentified bodies of fire/flood disaster

President John Dramani Mahama has directed the testing of DNA samples on unidentified bodies of  the June 3 flood/fire disaster, believed to have killed nearly 152 people so far.

President Mahama gave the directive at a one-week memorial service to climax three days of national mourning for the deceased persons.

Speaking at the forecourt of the State House, President Mahama noted that several bodies had still not been identified and a DNA test would help family members claim their relatives for the necessary funeral rites.

President Mahama thus asked relatives to visit the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, 37 Military and the Police Hospital, to seek guidance on the processes for the DNA testing.

The President also revealed that the official death toll currently stands at 152 contrary to reports that over 200 hundred people perished in the twin disaster.

He however noted that the figure may be provisional and expressed the optimism that the numbers would not rise.

According to figures available to the National Disaster Management Organization, (NADMO), over 34,000 victims of last Wednesday’s floods are yet to receive relief items barely a week after the disaster.

President Mahama added that relief items would also be distributed to victims of the flood and fire disaster as government has dedicated some GH¢50 million to deal with the disaster.

The President urged Ghanaians to be grateful to God in the face of difficulties.

“There is much for which we should be grateful. Not least of all is our own lives. We have seen yet again, the unpredictability of life. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring and no one is immune or exempt,” he noted.

He also urged Ghanaians to exercise restraint in apportioning blame, but admitted there was a lot of blame to be made.

Nevertheless, he said, such discourse should be done to help find a lasting solution against a re-occurrence of such a disaster.

“When we list one by one, the various mistakes and failings that contributed to this catastrophe, I hope it is not for the purpose of pointing fingers but rather of making certain that something of this nature never again happens to our dear country.”

“Our conversations should not be centered on what parts government did or did not do but rather on what this government must and will do. We should not waste resources or time predicting when another disaster or flood will claim lives. Rather, invest that time in taking the appropriate measures to prevent the possibility of such an occurrence,” he added.

President Mahama expressed appreciation to the security agencies for their dedication and effort in the face of the disaster. He also extended gratitude to the numerous Ghanaians who risked their own lives to save others as well as the various organizations who have set up disaster relief funds intended to mobilize resources to assist those in need.

The memorial service was attended by relatives of the dead, members of the clergy and government officials. Former Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor were also present to mourn the dead. Leaders of the opposition NPP, led by the Flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo were also present.

Others included the Chief Justice, Georgina Wood. Renowned Ministers of the gospel Eastwood Anaba, Archbishop Duncan Williams and Dag Heward-Mills of Light House Chapel offered prayers for the dead and the country as a whole.



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