How temporary is Appiatse explosion victims’ accommodation?

Since January 20, 2022, when it suffered a devastating explosion, the Appiatse community in Prestea-Huni-Valley Municipality of the Western Region has continued to be in the news for things meant to assist its inhabitants who are now appropriately referred to as victims of the explosion.

Things in reference include Appiatse Reconstruction Committee, Appiatse Support Fund, donations of cash and items from individuals and organisations, and a $6-million fine imposed on Maxam Company Ltd which was conveying the mining explosions that exploded in the town.

The fine is over breaches of manufacturing, storage and transportation of the explosives and $1million out of it is going into the Appiatse Support Fund.

Currently, the inhabitants of Appiatse have become internally-displaced people who are being housed at a tent camp, which means they are living in tents.

Living in tents has its own problems such as suffering the vagaries of the weather and invasion of troublesome insects like mosquitoes, reptiles, particularly snakes and lizards; and rodents, including rats.

Water and sanitation issues too need serious attention otherwise there could be outbreak of related diseases.

Besides, a little mistake can cause fire outbreak.

So far, the Ghanaian Times has not heard of such incidents happening at the Appiatse tent camp.

That means everything possible must be done to prevent such problems in order not to make the explosive victims multiple agonies.

This is why it can be deemed as solace the move by the government to convert 78 housing units, which form part of the Dumase resettlement project in the municipality, into temporary accommodation facilities for the Appiatse explosion victims.

This is said to be a new arrangement between the government and developers of the resettlement project, Future Global Resources Limited (FGR), aimed at offering protection to the residents from the expected heavy rainfall in the coming months.

The work on the temporary accommodation is scheduled to commence on February 28 to be completed within 30 days, which means the facilities would be ready by March 31.

The planned efforts to put the place in shape, including the Forestry Commission supplying all the needed wood for roofing, doors and windows for completion of the housing units now at the lintel level; and use of communal labour and partnership to ensure its success, are highly commendable.

However, the Ghanaian Times has a question or two about the temporary facility.

What does the government mean by temporary accommodation?

Does it mean some ‘anything-goes’ facilities are going to be provided, pending the reconstruction of the Appiatse community, which the Ghanaian Times expects to be a modern settlement upon whose completion the people would move there?

Can anyone also ask whether they are going to be standard facilities that can be ‘bequeathed’ to those they are originally meant for at Dumase?

These questions are legitimate because it would be recalled that on October 23, 2020 residents of Dumasi, a farming community in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality, demonstrated and, by a petition, gave a seven-day ultimatum to Golden Star Bogoso Prestea Limited, which had then been acquired by Future Global Resources,to address their concerns or face their wrath.

One of their grievances was the completion of these housing units meant for resettlement in the area but had been under construction for over 14 years but without any sign of them going to be completed soon.

Should it be taken as a matter of serendipity in which case the Dumasi people would take over the facilities after the Appiatse explosion victims have evacuated them?

Is the Appiatse disaster going to be a blessing to Dumase people?

The answers to the questions raised in this piece must not be lost on the government and its partners in the temporary accommodation project.

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