Special Times campaign against disaster prevention50 bodies identified through DNA

OUT of the 65 bodies burnt beyond recognition in the twin fire and flood disaster at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and deposited at the 37 Military Hospitals, 50 have been identified through Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) tests.

This followed the directive issued by President John Dramani Mahama who various hospitals to run DNA tests on the bodies deposited at the morgue which were burnt beyond recognition.

The acting Public Relations Officer of the 37 Military Hospital, Captain Alfred Marteye confirmed that currently, there were 15 bodies yet to be identified by relatives.

Captain Marteye said the current situation at the hospital was such that it was working in conjunction with the Police Homicide Unit and the National Security to conduct DNA tests on the various bodies.

“This is to ensure that the right body is given to the rightful owner, without any default” he said.

He also confirmed that all the bodies in their possession were brought in from the disaster which occurred at the Circle Goil filling station, adding that, only two were flood victims.

He said even though some of the victims had been identified, they would not be handed over to their relatives because the Police Homicide Unit wanted to ensure that the tests being conducted on the bodies tallied with those of the relatives.

“We can’t hand the bodies over to the relatives because the DNA tests are still ongoing,” “running a DNA is not a day’s affair as one would have to do a thorough check to come out with the right findings, so that we don’t mislead relatives of these victims,” he said.

“We would not like to rush into matters, looking at how the incident occurred; people from all walks of life converged at a place and lost their lives. We can’t rush with the procedure and conduct the test in a day,” he said.

Currently, he said the hospital authorities had not come out with a deadline for the collection of bodies, adding, not until they were satisfied that relatives had been able to identify their deceased relatives.

He said the hospital had a waiting period after which it would come to the satisfaction that all families had located their lost relatives.

“Currently, we have people who come in to try to identify their dead relatives alongside the DNA test, so it is a gradual process. We don’t want to rush into anything, that is why we have placed a mechanism in place so that the right body goes to the right relative,” he said.

Asked about the number of injured persons brought in, he said about 45 victims, but one died the following day, adding that just yesterday, 21 were discharged, while 23 still on admission.

From the day of the occurrence, government has been very supportive, and the various promises have been honoured, and various private institutions and NGOs have been very supportive.

Asked if the hospital is currently facing any challenges, he said, “37 Military Hospital currently doesn’t face any challenges, since it has been designated to take on emergency and disaster cases. So, we are always in readiness for such circumstances”.

By Baaba Crentsil

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