‘We have lost a great family member’ – Brother of church collapse victim

Some family members who have been devastated at the loss of their relative, with heaviness, managed to speak to our Eastern Region correspondent Yvonne Neequaye.

Maame Ama sat behind the cordoned area as she wept uncontrollably, the sound of her tears caught our attention. We engaged her, she manages to speak.

“I have lost my sister, she works at Asamankese, on Friday I was at my cold store when she passed by. She told me she was leaving to Akoa’s place and will return on Monday or Tuesday.

“I gave out plantain someone offered me to her since she would stay long and plantain not a favourite me.”

Sobbing while cleaning her eyes with a handkerchief, she continued: “I was looking forward to seeing her. I heard the building collapsed. I couldn’t sleep. People kept giving conflicting reports. I came here myself and asked those who managed to escape about the whereabouts of my sister. They said Sister Esi was still trapped in the rubble.”

At this point she broke into tears.

“I was hoping my sister would be removed because we heard of the rescue efforts ongoing. This morning is a Black Thursday for me. We just heard the bad news that she has been brought out dead. His elderly son saw her dead body being brought out. The soldiers have asked us to stay away. We are waiting to receive the body and take home for burial.”

The six-storey uncompleted church building collapsed on Tuesday at Akyem Batabi

We saw another man, a brother of the deceased, close by. Men are not noted to cry but as hard as he tried to hold his tears, he speech shakes.

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“We are three, one died long ago. She is the one who cares for everyone and orphans in the family. On Friday, she said she was going to church. She even gave me some money. I didn’t hear anything from her until on Tuesday I heard of the disaster on radio.”

Trying to stay strong, he narrated: “When I got here, what I saw with my very own eyes, I concluded, we couldn’t have had more survivors. Even those that may survive would have suffered a lot. We have lost a great family member. We can only ask God to heal us in this trying times.”

A survivor receiving treatment at the Oda Government Hospital

Rescue effort is still underway. But the rescue team does not have credible data and information to work with, a situation affecting progress of work on what more number of bodies could be buried in the rubble.

Death toll is 22 as of Friday, October 232

The NADMO Director of Inspectorate, Richard Amo Yartey, says the bodies are now for the state until investigations are done before they would be released to families for burial.

So far, 22 persons have been confirmed dead.

The church building before the collapse

By Yvonne Neequaye

Editor’s Note: Our correspondent has been at the disaster scene since Tuesday, observing and reporting on the rescue operation.