G/A Regional Security Council sets up probe into Faanaa-Wiabomaa canoe disaster
The Greater Accra Regional Security Council has established a committee to determine the suitability of habitation or otherwise at Faanaa-Wiabomaa, an island community in the Ga South Municipality.
This followed the drowning of nine school children in the area after a canoe transporting them from school capsized in a canal last Wednesday.
Eight of the bodies of the children aged between one-and-half and 12 years were recovered at about 6:00p.m that same day of the incident, while the last one, a female named only as Victoria, was retrieved onThursday at about 11:30am.
“The security agencies have been tasked to come out with a report on the suitability of the area for habitation, the amenities they need here. We are all Ghanaians and everybody needs good amenities to live.
“We want to have data about the people who live here to help us map out a long term strategy,” Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, stated.
He was speaking when he led members of the council to the area on Friday to mourn with the families of the victims.
He announced that the council had banned the operations of canoes by underaged persons.
In the interim, MrQuartey said, the council would provide a canoe with an outboard motor to facilitate the transporting of children to and from school.
He called on parents in the two communities to ensure that their children were in protective wears before using the estuary or in the interim accompany their children to school and pick them up afterwards.
“We have assured to come back and donate a canoe to ferry the children to school which will be managed by the assemblies. We will deliver life jackets as well,” the Regional Minister added.
As part of new measures, he said, all operators of canoes would be required to register with the Weija-Gbawe and the Ga South Municipal Assemblies to be known adding that “nobody will be allowed to go to the canoe without life jackets.”
MrQuartey further urged the two municipal assemblies to collaborate and put the interest of the people within Wiabomaa and Faana into consideration before the estuary was opened.
This, he said, was necessary to prevent another calamity in the area.
In view of the commencement of the ban on drumming and dancing today, he said, parents of the pupils who drowned agreed that the bodies should be buried yesterday, (Sunday).
“All the deceased parents have agreed that the bodies should be buried on May 14 since the ban on drumming and dancing commences on Monday, May 15. None of them is doing this under duress,” he stated.
MrQuartey said that the government would take up the cost of the burial, saying that the traumatised survivors would be provided a psychologist to assist in their recovery.
It emerged on Thursday, that a 12-year-old boy was in charge of the canoe that capsized and drowned the nine children.
Chief Executive Officer of the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly, Patrick K.B. Kumor, said the operator in charge of the canoe was unwell and unavailable to ferry the children across the water body.
“The 12-year-old boy took his stead and overloaded the canoe with other minors resulting in the unfortunate accident,” he noted.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS