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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ghana Shopping Mall Collapses; 1 Dead, Several Trapped


A shopping mall has collapsed in Ghana, leaving at least three people dead, but a desperate rescue operation has so far pulled out 39 survivors.
It is thought the top three floors of the new five-storey building housing the Melcom mall in the centre of the capital Accra came down.
Assistant Police Superintendent Freeman Tettey told journalists that three people had been confirmed dead as workers rushed to find those buried with the west African heat bearing down.
Another police official said later in the day that 39 people had so far been pulled out from the rubble alive and taken to hospital for treatment.
"Thirty-nine people have so far been rescued and sent to the various hospitals in Accra based on the degree of the injury," Accra police commander Patrick Timbillah said.
Police said 50 employees worked in the building, but all were not believed there before the collapse, which occurred ahead of opening time on Wednesday morning. The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.
Thousands of people were at the scene, including family members in search of relatives.
"My son, my son, my son! My son is going to die! Get him for me! He is my only son!" one woman screamed.
A man who saw his brother being put in an ambulance on a stretcher yelled out in agony: "He can't move! He can't move!"
President John Dramani Mahama suspended his campaign ahead of December 7 elections, offered prayers for those trapped and called the incident a "tragedy" as he visited the site.

Workers from a nearby construction site were urgently called over to help dig through the rubble.
Stephen Ansah, a Melcom employee from another branch, said he had spoken with someone buried who had said he needed water.
"They are suffering," he said.
"The heat is too much."
President Mahama ordered a probe of the incident, which he called "a tragedy for Ghana."
"I decided to call off my campaign to come and have first-hand information about the incident...
"A committee will be set up to investigate the cause of the accident, and whoever is found culpable will be dealt with.
"I have had calls from governments who are willing to assist us with a rescue mission and I have accepted their offer. They will come in when it is necessary."
Ghana, a country of some 20 million people, is a major producer of gold and cocoa which began significant oil production in 2010.
It is viewed as a success story in often turbulent west Africa and a rare example of a relatively stable democracy in the region.

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