It is not unusual to look for a missing person by any means on a normal day. But there is everything painful, harrowing and heartbreaking to be searching in uncertainty for a loved one who may have been killed , injured or even lost in a marauding flood and an explosive fire outbreak that have claimed a little over 150 lives.
This is the painful ordeal for many families who have been thronging the 37 Military Hospital, Police Hospital and the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
With the uncertainties and anxiety clearly visible in their faces, the family members and friends had no option but to go through the morgues where various dead bodies, some charred beyond recognition have been deposited.
In some cases, some relatives have had to move from one morgue to the other in search of relatives, who they have not been able to contact since the marauding floods and the fire explosion at the Goil Fuel Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle on Wednesday.
Those who were unsuccessful with their search, left in tears to other morgues.
Some families are also visiting various hospital wards where many more victims of the twin disaster are nursing devastating and life-threatening injuries, mostly from the fire outbreak.
At the Police Hospital where TV3 visited, scores of family and friends were in a queue waiting to search or identify their relatives in the morgue and in the hospital wards.
A frustrated father who was sobbing told TV3 he had lost hope in search of his 18 year old son.
“He completed SHS just two weeks ago and said he and his friends were going to Accra Mall. So around 9pm he told me they were around Circle but we have been looking for him and we can’t find him. We have been to Korle-Bu so from here we are going to the 37 Military Hospital. He is eighteen years old.
I am in tears because the kind of things I saw here I doubt I can find my son. The way people are burnt its even difficult to identify someone. There are so many bodies there; it’s just unthinkable”.
Others who found their relatives broke down in tears after identifying their dead bodies. A woman, who could not hold back her tears, has lost her six year old son to the flood.
Apparently the boy’s father who was returning with him from the Northern Region, met the floods at Circle. According to a relative who was consoling the heartbroken woman, the floods carried away their child but the husband survived.
“The child’s body has been identified here by the father who survived the marauding floods”.
Another young man who searched for his brother was devastated after identifying him with some injuries. But his tears and devastation was rather for other severely injured and dead bodies he saw.
He told TV3 “By God’s grace we have seen them but it’s a very sad story. My siblings are safe by God’s grace because the effects of the fire on them was not so severe. But some others have severe burns such that if you are not careful you may not even identify someone who is your brother. It’s a very sad situation” he lamented.
Although the floods have receded, some three bodies were retrieved by rescuers on Friday in the Odor river at Circle.
Unconfirmed reports put the death toll at a little above 150, but Government says it can only give official figures by Sunday June 8, as injured victims are being treated with identification of dead persons ongoing.
Victims of the twin disaster are largely in three major hospitals; the Police Hospital, 37 Military and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospitals.
A massive flooding coincided with a huge fire outbreak at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Branch of the GOIL Fuel Station killing hundreds of people who were seeking shelter from the rain, buying fuel and conducting other businesses.
President Mahama has announced that drastic measures would be taken in the coming days to avert a recurrence.
He has declared three days of national mourning for the victims beginning Monday, June 9. The Ghana national flag will fly at half-mast during the mourning period.
The government has also announced a Ghc 50million relief package for the affected persons, some of who have been rendered homeless.