The Appiatse journey: A journey of resilience and hope

The Appiatse journey has been an extraordinary and remarkable one, with considerable twists and turns. On that tragic day, while we were all going about our normal businesses, the people of Appiatse were struck by an unfortunate incident, which shook our nation. Explosives being transported to a mine site detonat­ed, claiming the lives of 16 of our citizens, injuring dozens, and razing down the entire community. A very sad day it was.

Our deepest condolences go to those who lost their loved ones through this tragic incident. May the gentle souls of all those who lost their lives, continue to rest and abide in the bosom of the Almighty, until the last day of the resurrection, when we shall meet again.

Our sympathies, also, go to the vic­tims of the incident, those who were injured and had to endure pain and suffering, those who were displaced, and had to be housed in temporary accommodations, those who lost their sources of income, and everyone who, in one way or the other, had been impacted by this catastrophic incident.

Undoubtedly, the tragedy has left a scar which might be difficult to erase. But it is in such situations that leaders and society must rise to the occasion, which has been manifested in the reconstruction of the Appiatse com­munity. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is grateful to the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Danwkwa Akufo-Addo, for his extraordinary leadership throughout this journey.

The Ministry, also, thanks the Vice President, H.E. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, for accepting to commis­sion the modern and green recon­structed Appiatse township. Since that terrible incident of 20th January, 2022, the Vice President has been very instrumental in bringing relief to the people of Appiatse, including leading a Government delegation to the community in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and making a personal donation towards the initial relief efforts. It is, therefore, heart­warming to have the Vice President, who has been with the people of Appiatse from the very beginning, commission the reconstructed Appai­tse community to restore hope to the victims of the incident.

This tragic incident called for, at least, three (3) immediate actions. The first was the provision of emergency relief. That is why, on the instructions of the President of the Republic, the Vice President led a delegation to commiserate with the victims of the incident, and made a personal contri­bution towards bringing relief to the people of Appiatse in those devastat­ing times. Again, on the instructions of the President of the Republic, all the security agencies and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), mobilised to the town to provide the much-needed emergency relief.

With the support of the Catholic Church, victims who were rendered homeless were housed at the St. Michael’s Parish Hall at Bogoso. Sub­sequently, in partnership with Future Global Resources (FGR), temporal accommodation, in the form of tents, were erected at the community for displaced families. FGR, again, gave us forty (40) uncompleted buildings at Dumase, which the Appiatse Support Fund later roofed and refurbished to house the affected victims as the rains begun to fall. Through these efforts, Government was able to provide decent temporary accommodation for all victims of the incident.

The second immediate action that needed to be taken was investiga­tions to determine what went wrong, punish wrongdoers, and take the necessary measures to avoid future occurrences. Thus, in addition to the investigations that were undertaken by the state security agencies, the Minerals Commission launched an investigation into the matter, to estab­lish the causes of the incident from a regulatory perspective.

To safeguard the safety of the in­dustry, the company at the centre of the incident was suspended from pro­viding any form of mine support ser­vices. Upon receipt of the preliminary report of the Minerals Commission, the Ministry constituted a three-mem­ber committee, to undertake further investigations into the matter.

In addition to the investigations into this particular incident, the Ministry, also, constituted a Health and Safety Committee, chaired by the distinguished Vice Chancellor of George Grant University of Mines and Technology (UMat), Prof. Richard Amankwaa, to review the entire health and safety regime of the mining industry in our country. The work of this Committee has led to far-reaching reforms in health and safety standards in the mining industry, including the manufacturing, handling, importing, transporting and use of explosives, which gives us the impetus to prevent future occurrences of such incidents.

The final, but, also, very important action was the need to rebuild what had been lost, to, as much as possible, restore the victims to their previous positions, or even better. Thus, on January 26, 2022, on the instructions of the President of the Republic, I led a government delegation, which included officials from the Ministry of Works and Housing, Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA), Department of Rural Housing, State Housing Company, and the Ghana Chamber of Mines, to carry out pre­liminary assessment of the destruc­tion and determine the right strategy to rebuild the community.

Prior to this visit, on January 25, 2022, Government launched the Ap­piatse Support Fund to raise money to, among others, support the victims of the incident and reconstruct the community. A five-member Commit­tee, chaired by an eminent states­woman and former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Rev. Dr Joyce Aryee, whose watchword for the Fund is account­ability, was inaugurated to manage the Fund.

Two days after the launch of the Fund, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, our compassionate President, donated One Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢100, 000.00) to the Fund, becoming the first person to donate to the Fund. His generous action was followed by several other well-meaning Ghana­ians, including our hardworking Vice President, the First Lady, Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State, Mem­bers of Parliament, corporate Ghana, individuals, among others. We, also, received several donations in kind, including building materials, from various institutions, both public and private. The full list of all 79 contrib­utors to the Fund has been published in the Monday, April 29, 2024 edition of the Daily Graphic. We thank you, sincerely, and the people of Appiatse are forever grateful for your gener­osity.

To effectively execute the com­mitment to rebuild the community, an Appiatse Reconstruction Im­plementation Committee (ARIC), under the able chairmanship of the then Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, and Member of Parliament for Atwima Nwabiagya North Constituency, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, with the strong assis­tance of the renowned architect, Mr Charles Blankson-Hemans, and many others, was constituted to see to the design and construction of this beautiful reconstructed community into a modern, green and sustainable township, as a model for rural devel­opment, with the hope of replicating same plans and designs in other parts of the country. They immediately went to work, and have done so to date.

I am happy and proud to report that, with the dedication of the Appiatse Reconstruction Implemen­tation Committee, and the support of several Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as all Ghanaians, the first phase of the reconstruction of the community has been completed. This phase is made up of 124 hous­ing units, consisting of one to seven bedroom houses, a school block with sanitary facilities, construction of inner roads within the community, provision of market, electricity, water, extensive street lighting, and a green landscape.

This reconstructed Appiatse Community, meticulously crafted, embodies government’s commitment to healing, and bringing solace to families who have endured displace­ment and pain. This is, truly, a gesture of a caring government.

Phase two of the Project, which is the repair and rehabilitation of buildings partially impacted by the incident, has, also, been completed, with payment to some 50 affected individuals to carry out the repair and rehabilitation of their buildings, after the affected buildings had been assessed and valued by professionals. And sod has been cut for the com­mencement of work on Phase three, consisting of the construction of 67 additional buildings together with other facilities at the peripheries of the new community.

All these have been made possible through the benevolence of Ghana­ians, and several other players, who responded to our call to donate to the Appiatse Support Fund. Not a pesewa of public funds has been expended on this Project. The entire cost of the Project was financed by the Appiatse Support Fund, and together, we have demonstrated that community resilience and compassion can build a brighter future, for, as they say, “where there is a will, there is a way.”

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is grateful to all those who supported us to achieve this remark­able feat, including the Ministries of Roads and Highways, Works and Housing, Energy, Water and Sanita­tion, and Local Government, Decen­tralisation and Rural Development, the project consultants, Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL), members of the Appiatse Support Fund, the Appiatse Recon­struction Implementation Committee, contractors, and engineers, we salute you all.

Let me, specifically, mention the chiefs and people of Appiatse, led by the Divisional Chief of Beppoh, Nana Atta Kwadwo Bremebi II, whose collective efforts have brought us this far.

If there was any doubt that Gov­ernment is committed to the promis­es we make to our people, this recon­structed Appiatse Community should jettison that doubt. And if there was any doubt, also, that governments are capable of delivering, this is sufficient reason to believe otherwise. Today, we have given hope to people once scarred by an unimaginable explosion, as a testament of the unflinching commitment of President Akufo-Ad­do to leverage on the resources of our country to bring relief to our people, and unleash prosperity for the mass of our people. May the Appiatse journey continue to inspire us to work together for our country, and our people.


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