Some victims and bereaved families of the June 3 disaster who were initially left out of government support were on Monday presented with cheques totalling GH₵814,000.
The cash presented by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) had come four years after the ghastly twin disaster which occurred on June 3, 2015 and claimed the lives of 160 people and injured 108 persons.
The victims were seeking shelter at the GOIL Filling Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle during a downpour but fuel leakage from underground tanks at the station mixed with run-off rain water led to an explosion of fire that engulfed persons seeking refuge from the rain at the station and killing and injuring some as a result.
Addressing a ceremony to disburse the funds to the beneficiaries in Accra, a Deputy Director-General of NADMO and Chairperson of the Disbursement Committee of the June 3, 2015 twin disaster, Mr Seji Saji, said the beneficiaries included 15 families of the deceased who were yet to receive any support from the government, 40 persons who were severely injured, 28 persons with minor injuries and a victim, Mr Kasim Suraj, who sustained varying degree of injuries.
Mr Saji said the 15 families and 40 persons that were severely injured were being supported with GH¢10,000 each, while the 28 persons with minor injuries would get GH¢8,000 each with GH¢40,000 going to Mr Suraj due to his impending surgery.
He said the 15 families were left out of an initial donation of GH¢10,000 offered by the government in support of a fitting burial for the deceased victims of the disaster.
Ghana News Headlines
For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page
"Some of the families did not receive any support from government because of uncertainties surrounding who the next of kin of the deceased persons were," Mr Saji explained.
Mr Eric Nana Agyemang-Prempeh (2nd left), the Director-General of NADMO, handing over a cheque to Mr Kasim Suraj
He said the disbursement was from a $200,000 donation from the government of Benin in support of the victims of the June 3 disaster which had been idle since 2017.
He said the committee had received a total of GH¢1.03 million to disburse but would retain a balance of over GH¢216,000 to cater for some potential victims or families who had not completed the screening processes to authenticate their claims.
The Ambassador of Benin to Ghana, Mrs Martine-Francoise Dossa, said the Beninois people were shocked by the disaster and were motivated to donate the amount in view of the long-standing friendly relations between the two countries.
"Benin and Ghana are brothers and at the same time friends and West Africans as well. When Benin heard about the disaster, the people were shocked which is why the government of Benin donated the money to Ghana.
"The money is to help the people resolve the problem and we are very happy with the way the committee has disbursed the money," she said.
She commended the seven-member Disbursement Committee for ensuring that the monies were fairly distributed.
Mr Saji said the committee was still engaging with media houses, including the Despite Group (Peace FM) and Media General (TV3), to ensure that all monies raised for the victims were exhaustively disbursed.
He disclosed that Omni Media (Citi FM) had released an amount of GH¢25,000 it raised to the committee for disbursement, while the Multimedia Group (Joy FM), which also raised GH¢195,169.99, had provided evidence of having disbursed the monies.
Visit to Mr Suraj
After the disbursement ceremony, the committee moved to the 37 Military Hospital to present the cheque for GH¢40,000 to Mr Suraj who is on admission awaiting surgery to reconstruct his ears.
One of Mr Suraj's doctors, Commander Kwesi Nsaful, told the NADMO Director-General, Mr Eric Nana Agyeman-Prempeh, that the patient had undergone 18 surgeries since his admission following the disaster.
Commander Nsaful said Mr Suraj had so far undergone multiple skin grafts, reconstruction of his eyelids and contracture releases.