TEARS: 7 saddest events in Ghana, number 5 will alarm you

The collapsed six-storey Melcom store at Achimota is among the top disasters in Ghana in recent years chronicled under our new series TEARS

Ghana is a country known for its hospitality and recently for its growing democracy. People in the country easily mingle despite the presence of some form of ethnic stereotyping which the larger public does not condone. Ghanaians are generally considered peaceful, loving and exemplary. The nation is indeed the envy of many countries the world over for its serenity but not always has it been tears of joy in the country.

However, not all is rosy in the country and there have been moments in the country’s history that have left many dark memories in the minds of the citizens. So we take a dive back into history to give you some of the seven worst incidents in the country’s history.

Kintampo Waterfall Disaster, 2017

The Kintampo waterfall is one of the country’s biggest waterfalls and one of the most patronized and popular. However, on March 20, 2017, something tragic occurred and till now remains a dark memory in the site’s illustrious history. On that day, a large tree fell on revellers which included students from the Wenchi Senior High School. The disaster claimed 28 lives while leaving several others injured. Among the injured was Daniel Alubadek, a Geography teacher at the school who has remained bedridden having had his spinal cord damaged through the accident.

Prestea-Huni-Valley Mine Pit Collapse, 2017

On April 4, 2017, barely weeks after the Kintampo waterfall disaster, another happened in the Western Region of Ghana, this time at the old mining time of Prestea-Huni-Valley. A group of illegal miners who went into abandoned mine pits in search of gold met their untimely death while sparking another huge conversation about the practice. 14 were reported dead with several others injured from the incident.

35 Killed by Floods, 2010

Ghana has experienced several floods in the past and even in recent that led to the loss of lives and properties. Some affected over three hundred thousand people as was the case in 1999 and 2007 in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions of Ghana. But one that beat the nation to shivers was one which happened at the end of the first decade of the 21st century when 35 people were lost to a flood on June 22, 2010. Heavy rains that lasted hours in some areas and days in others reached havoc with 35 people across the country going down. Properties lost should not even be mentioned here.

Six-storey Achimota Melcom Building Collapse, 2012

One of Ghana’s largest retail shops, Melcom witnessed a sad day in its history when one of its outlets in a suburb of the national capital, Accra collapsed trapping 81 people. The incident which has been tagged a Black Wednesday in Ghana took the lives of 14 people with 67 survivors from the incident. Experts were brought in from Israel to assist in the rescue efforts. Rescuers reported that 18 people were dead but at the conclusion of the rescue efforts which the then Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Army Col Mbawine Atintande said had reached “ground zero” meaning no further bodies were expected to be found. The owner of the building and another in charge of safety at the local assembly was detained for questioning. President Mahama at the time assured that those who were responsible will pay for their negligence.

May 9 Stadium Disaster, 2001

Football is one of Ghana’s biggest unifying assets and a big source of entertainment. Two of the nation’s most successful clubs, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko have always produced epic moments of entertainment mixed with tension. However, one such meeting has remained a dark spot in Ghanaian football history. Kotoko was leading the match by a lone goal and was on course for the victory until Hearts of Oak scored two late goals to turn the match on its head leading to angry Kotoko supporters reacting by throwing bottles and seats into the field of play. Police reacted by firing tear gas to control the situation but as the Kotoko fans made for the exit, the gates were locked causing a stampede. 116 people died from compressive asphyxia with 10 people losing their lives through trauma.

June 3 Twin Disaster, 2015

June 3 remains one of Ghana’s darkest moments in recent times. Rains that started in the country on June 1 claimed at least 20 lives but what happened on the third day of the month when the flood waters mixed with petrol caused an explosion at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra is what even made the day gloomy. In all, over 154 people lost their lives. Many of them were taking shelter at the GOIL filling station near the GCB Bank Towers and directly opposite Vienna City. Many have been maimed permanently from the disaster and the scars of the disaster remain visible from the undeveloped parcel of land that has been cordoned off since the incident.

Bus Collision Kills 71 at Kintampo, 2016

Kintampo makes an appearance here again but this time not for the waterfall but bus collision. The Kintampo stretch of the Kumasi-Tamale Highway has been a dangerous spot over the years claiming so many lives through bus collisions. But one of them stands out and it was in February 2016 when a bus of the government-owned Metro Mass Transit collided with a truck ferrying tomatoes and headed towards southern Ghana. 70 people were confirmed dead with over 13 injured from the clash.

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