Friday, 27 January 2017
JUNE 3 FLOOD VICTIM
Timothy Ngnenbe, ACCRA
It was a sad and breaking moment as 35-year old Alex Mensah, a victim of the June 3, 2015 twin disaster that claimed some 159 lives, recounted the painful ordeal he went through that fateful day.
The father of three and resident of Pokuase in the Central Region, who before the fatal incident was a driver, has been disfigured as a result of the burns, aside losing his source of livelihood.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic yesterday, he disclosed that he was the sole survivor of a 27-member team that sought refuge at the fuel station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where the gas explosion started.
“I do not know where to start from and where to end. I am a driver. I was on my daily routine when the floodgate opened. I joined some other people at the fuel station with the hope that I will be safer there.
“At a point, we realised that the whole place had been engulfed with flood water, so we tried to force our way out. We held on to one another so that we will not be carried away by the flood water. But, suddenly, I heard an explosive sound. We began to burn because the water was covered with petrol.
“In fact, I thought the judgement day had come, because the rate at which everyone was crying and shouting for help was more of hell fire,” he said.
To cut a long story short, Mr, Mensah, described his survival as the greatest miracle ever.
After going through the agony and depression at the 37 Military Hospital for six and a half months, he had to go through another period of psychological and mental trauma as his close associates abandoned him.
“Initially, I felt like taking my away my own life. All my friends abandoned me. My children were even afraid to come near me. It was a traumatic moment.
“When I was discharged from hospital, I was told to go for dressing of the wounds twice in a week. But, each time I boarded public transport, nobody wanted to sit close to me. I do not want my enemy to go through this situation, let alone my loved ones,” he said.
According to Mr Mensah, life became so difficult for him when his wife, who fended for the family since the tragic event, also had her shop demolished to pave way for the construction work on the Kwame Nkrumah interchange project.
He said it took the benevolence of his church, Bethel Grace, at Kwabenya, and the support of Mr Samuel Agyemang of Metro Television, to get his three children back to school.
Mr Mensah made a passionate to individuals and organisations to come to help him to pay the debts that hanged around his neck as a result of the disaster.
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) yesterday presented GH₵ 10,000 to surviving victims and the families of the deceased to help them get back to their feet.
A visibly happy Mr Mensah expressed his gratitude to the AMA and the government for the support, saying “it will help me to defray some of my debts.”
“I am willing and ready to work within my limit to earn a living for myself and my family. I appeal to any employer, who will not despise me in my trying moment, to help me out. I can still drive. Any vehicle owner who will listen to my plea and help me out will be blessed,” he said.
Mr. Mensah, who kept making reference to the bible and exalting God for saving him, was full of praise to his wife for her support.
“My wife deserves tonnes of commendation. She loved me when I was the breadwinner, and continues to even love me more in my state of dependence. I thank her for being my source of joy.
Hours of rainfall on June 3, 2015, caused most of the flood-prone areas of Accra to be engulfed in flood water. The Kwame Nkrumah Circle area was the worst affected as an explosion at a fuel station compounded the situation, leading to the death of more than 159 people.
Since the tragic event, some individuals and organisations have launched fundraising events to support the survivors and families of victims.
Today (Friday) marks the first anniversary of the sad event.
As the country marks the first anniversary of the June 3, 2015 twin disaster that claimed some 159 lives today (Friday), Mr. Alex Mensah, a victim of the disaster narrated his painful ordeal and appealed for support from the public.