Four dead, dozens trapped in Ghana mall collapse

KWASI KPODO
Last updated 09:07 08/11/2012
Rescue workers look for survivors from the debris of a collapsed four-storey building in Accra, Ghana.
Reuters

MALL COLLAPSE: Rescue workers look for survivors from the debris of a collapsed four-storey building in Accra, Ghana.

Relevant offers

Africa

#BringBackOurGirls, one year later: 'I forgive Boko Haram' Penis transplant offers hope to Xhosa victims of botched circumcisions Former Egyptian president Morsi jailed for 20 years Gin suspected of causing mystery deaths New Zealand mother grieves son's Islamic State death Reports up to 700 feared dead after migrant boat sinks off Libya Islamic State shoots and beheads 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya South Africa Says violence under control as death count rises At least 19 dead after minibus plunges into river in Tanzania South African president condemns anti-immigrant violence

LATEST: At least four people were killed and dozens more were trapped in rubble when a four-storey building housing a department store collapsed overnight (NZ time) in a suburb of Ghana's capital Accra.

President John Mahama, running for election in December, cut short a campaign tour to visit the site and promised that anyone found responsible would "pay the price" as it emerged the building had not received proper approval from city authorities.

"This brings to the fore the need for strict enforcement of our building and construction code," Mahama said, calling for an investigation into how codes may have been circumvented.

Rescue workers had pulled 42 survivors from the rubble by nightfall as well as four dead bodies and large crowds gathered to watch, a Reuters witness said.

One survivor thrust a triumphant fist in the air to the cheers of onlookers as he was carried to a waiting ambulance. Some of those rescued showed signs of injury, and all were examined at a nearby hospital.

Around 10 people were still believed to be trapped under the wreckage, though authorities said most were in good spirits and some had been able to communicate with their families by mobile telephone.

Officials said rescue efforts would continue through the night and emergency workers were able to supply trapped victims with drinking water and oxygen through openings in the wreckage.

Emergency officials at the scene said the collapse most likely had been caused by structural failure.

"We never granted any permit for this building so it is a case of an unauthorised structure," Mayor Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije told Reuters. "We have asked the owner to report to our office tomorrow morning to answer questions."

Accra is in the midst of a construction boom spurred by oil-fuelled economic growth. Construction standards region-wide are generally poor and enforcement of building codes is often lax.

Melcom Ltd., which runs Ghana's biggest chain of retail department stores, said it had rented the building and opened a store there about six months ago.

"This is a tragedy and we are very much concerned about those trapped in there," said Vitalina Adjimani, a Melcom official. "Our concern is not about the loss of property but it's about human lives."

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content