Since the Appiatse explosion occurred on January 20, this year, the Ghanaian Times has been consistent in following developments there.
This paper’s consistency is rooted in the fact that victims of disasters or calamities deserve special handling by way of healthcare, psychological counselling and related matters like compensation and welfare.
And the issues of compensation and welfare especially should be so transparent that at the end of it all, both the victims and their sympathisers can testify that equity, fairness and futurity have been served.
It was all joy when Vice President Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia announced on January 21 during his visit to Appiatse that the government would rebuild all the destroyed houses.
The Appiatse Support Fund was launched on January 25 followed by the Appiatse Support Fund Committee under the chairmanship of Reverend Joyce Aryee, to raise funds for the reconstruction.
The editorial of February 5, 2022, acknowledged the integrity of Dr Aryee and the other four members of the committee and appealed to the Appiatse reconstruction team to be guided by the aftermath of the 1666 London fire that led to the construction of London as a modern city.
The conclusion was that there reborn Appiatse community should be well planned with modern structures or buildings with all the expected facilities like streets and a hotel or two for it to be a tourist attraction now that the place has attained global fame.
On April 5, the Appiatse Support Fund Committee announced that it had so far raised GH¢35.8 million towards the reconstruction of Appiatse and the committee had been told, probably the reconstruction team, that the money was not enough and appealed for more donations.
The committee noted that the list of donors had been captured in the bank statements of the Fund and that it would be published in the newspapers to ensure transparency.
The Ghanaian Times is happy that the committee members are proving their integrity to the Ghanaian public.
However, there is one thing everyone would like to know because of a statement Rev. Dr Aryee made to the effect that “The amount raised notwithstanding, was far from reaching the sufficient funds required….”
How much is needed to reconstruct Appiatse?
So far, it has been announced that 124 houses are going to be constructed and these are made up of 41 one-bedroom, 35 two-bedroom, 25 three-bedroom, 15 four-bedroom, eight five-bedroom, one six-bedroom house and one seven-bedroom units.
The reconstruction team says the project seeks to replace exactly what each individual lost to the explosion and that the community had been engaged for their inputs in designing the plans.
Other structures would add up to the houses for reborn Appiatse to have 416 buildings and so invitation is extended to interested contractors to apply to participate in the project.
The Ghanaian Times wishes to appeal to the Appiatse Support Fund Committee and the Land Use and Spatial Plan Authority (LUSPA), the designers of the reconstruction plan, that they are handling a project of national interest and so the public would like to know certain details like the sizes of the buildings and their individual costs as well as the cost of the social facilities.
This is not the time to pay huge consultancy fees and over-price products and services.
Does the reconstruction plan have provision for buildings of more than one storey, considering the fact that land must be judiciously put to use?
Other questions may be asked from time to time.
So far, it seems equity and fairness are going to be served but not futurity. Even if someone was living in a one-bedroom, should that person continue to live in that? The least of the housing units should have been two-bedrooms.
With that said, the Ghanaian Times wishes to call attention to the fact that tidal wave victims should also receive equal attention.
The Ghana Gas Company has started that by providing GH¢2 million to the Ketu South Municipal Assembly for the construction of 15 two-bedroom self-contained housing units to resettle victims of the recent tidal waves in the area.
The Ghanaian Times would monitor this project too and how the money is going to be expended.