June 3 Victims Need Fitting Memorial

The government has already announced a package to support the victims of the flood and fire disaster and provide certain facilities to avert the recurrence of the tragedy.

Even in the light of this development, there are some victims who are complaining about the absence of any central government support.

We observe that the disaster caught everybody pants down, although we knew that in June the rains would come and cause havoc in Accra, just as it had done in the past.

A content analysis of the newspapers will show the pain that residents of Accra and other cities have endured over past rainy seasons.

For many residents, every rainy season is a period to lose precious possessions to floods, and yet they are unable to take the decision to relocate.

A review of the situation at the GOIL Filling Station in Accra on June 3, 2015 showed that the victims had really gone through harrowing experiences that nobody would wish for his or her bitterest foe.

Already, people of all shades of opinion and persuasion are reminding all residents of their responsibilities, so that never again will the country lose more than 150 people to a disaster.

The Daily Graphic asks: now that everybody is saddened by last Wednesday’s disaster, what do we do to serve as a befitting memorial to the many who lost their lives through no fault of theirs?

What happened on June 3 has been blamed on systemic and human failure, as both the state apparatus and individuals, through their actions and inaction, have visited this tragedy on the nation.

Not only did the flood expose our inability to manage our drains but it also exposed the state’s inability to manage disasters and humanitarian relief and response.

The Daily Graphic has been wondering why, in this day and age, the state would resort to the use of crude methods to salvage the injured and carry the dead to the morgue.

All over the world, body bags and ambulances are used to carry the dead to the morgue, but during the June 3 disaster, the dead were just thrown into trucks to be conveyed to the morgue.

The Daily Graphic calls on the government to take the necessary steps to retool state institutions to deal with emergencies in order to save lives and property.

Although the security apparatus and relief agencies did their best, they could have exhibited more professionalism in the handling of the fire and flood victims.

Going forward, however, the Daily Graphic calls on all Ghanaians and state institutions to change their attitude to the conduct of public affairs.

At the individual level, there is the need for an attitudinal change, so that we will not put solid waste into open drains and put up houses at unauthorised places.

Our state institutions must also enforce the regulations to ensure that everybody does what is right and also that state officials paid by the taxpayer should stop conniving with residents to flout the regulations.

We think one singular monument that will stand in honour of the over 150 dead will be our resolve never to do things that will facilitate the flooding of Accra and other parts of the country and, in doing so, set the clock of progress backwards.