The Member of Parliament for Prestea Huni Valley, Hon Robert Wisdom Cudjoe has called the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to speed up process to get permanent houses for the Victims of the Appiatse explosion victims.
According to him, the tents provided as temporal structures for the victims is not safe during the rainy season.
Mr Cudjoe made the call in a statement he delivered in parliament to update the House on the happening in the area.
He said, he visited the camp and incidentally it rain thereby exposing the victims to bad weather should the rainy season set in.
Below is the Full statement
STATEMENT BY THE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR PRESTEA HUNI-VALLEY, HON ROBERT WISDOM CUDJOE, ON UPDATE OF THE APPIATSE EXPLOSION DISASTER
Thank you for the opportunity to make this statement and to give update on the deadly disaster which befell our nation on Thursday, 20th January 2022, which still remain a mystery that I am unable to bear with as well as the surviving victims.
I referred to this day as a ‘Black Thursday Day,’ for the good people of Prestea Huni-Valley ,for that matter the people of Appiatse in the Western Region.
Mr Speaker, when the incident occurred there has been statements, press conference, among other comments, views and theories.
As a result of that, the Western Regional Parliamentary Caucus of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) paid a visit to the disaster site on Saturday 29th January, 2022, to get fair first hand information on the incident.
The caucus was led by our Chairman, Hon Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, to meet the local committee who briefed us of the situation. The caucus were first taken to the incident site and later paid a courtesy call on Nana Kwadwo Atta Brembi II, the overlord of Beppo traditional Area.
Mr. Speaker, the Caucus later addressed the Local Committee and the victims at the temporal resettlement site. The caucus also donated food items; sanitary and clothing’s to the victims.
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to also update this august House the current happening as at the time the caucus visited the site.
- Death toll;13
- A total of 13 injured persons were still in Hospitals at Bogoso, Tarkwa, Efia-Nkwanta, Wassa Akropong, Komfuo-Anokye and Korle-Bu.
- Total number of persons at resettlement camp, according to the local committee stood at 857, but people were still counting victims which could rise to over 1,000.
- The victims moved to the resettlement camp on 27th January, 2022.
- The total number of Tents as at the time we visited the site was 29
- Average number of families per Tent 13.
- The Camp is manage by 20 member Committee chaired by the MCE, Hon Dr Isaac Dasmani.
Mr. Speaker, the victims who have been resettled and are camped in Tents, prepare their own food.
Mr. Speaker, on 26th of January, 2022, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources launched Appiatse Fund to be Managed by a five member Committee Chaired by one of our illustrations stateswoman, Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee, the founder of Salt and Light Ministries, and a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines.
I commend the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and for that matter the government for the swift and proactive intervention, but just to note that the Overlords of Appiatse (Wassa-Fiase Traditional Council, Prestea Huni-Valley Constituency, Beppoh Divisional Traditional Council) have no representation on the above Committee.
I therefore urged the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to revise the membership of committee to bring on board at least a member from the traditional area.
Mr. Speaker, as the government, the cooperate Ghana and individuals are making frantic effort to support the victims to resettle , my observation as MP for the area indicates that, Maxam Ghana Company Ltd, which caused the explosion is conspicuously missing in action with regards to management and support to the victims.
Thankfully, Mr. Speaker, a press release by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources on 7th February,,2022, indicates that, the government has imposed a fine of US$6million or its Cedi equivalent at the prevailing commercial rate on Maxam Company Ltd, for regulatory breaches.
I have no doubts whatsoever that in the computation of the fines, the rebuilding of Appiatse, compensation to victims and restitutions of all lost property were taking into consideration.
Mr. Speaker, I want to also take this opportunity to draw the Ghana police services attention to its press statement dated on 21st January, 2022, when the Vice President, Dr Mohamudu Bawumia visited the disaster site to the effect that, the driver of the escort vehicle assisted the Community members to move children of Appiatse basic school to a safe zone is inaccurate.
It must be stated that, there is no existing school in Appiatse per the Ghana Education Services (GES) records and the Escort driver couldn’t have vacated school children in that community.
As a representative of the people in that area, I wish to urge the police administration to retract and render unqualified apology to the Chiefs and people Prestea Huni-Valley and for that matter the victims of Appiatse disaster.
On this note, I wish to thank the government, co-operate Ghana and individuals who out of their own sympathetic hearts rushed to offer support to the hundreds of victims and also appeal to other organization to come to the aide of the victims.
I also want to remind the government to honour its promise and speed up the process to putting up decent houses for the victims who have been rendered homeless.
Mr. Speaker, at this juncture, we wish healing to the victims who suffered various degree of injuries, and may the souls of the departed rest in the bosom of the Lord, until the last day of the resurrection when we shall meet again.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and the House, for your attention.
HON. ROBERT WISDOM CUDJOE, MP, PRESTEA HUNI-VALLEY