The Vice President and flagbearer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday handed over 124 new housing units to the people of Appiatse following the destruction of the community through a deadly explosion.

The 124 housing units and the reconstruction of the community consist 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.

A total of 16 people were killed with several others injured in Appiatse near Bogoso in the Western region on January 20, 2022 when a truck conveying explosives for a mining company, Maxxam Ghana Limited, was involved in an accident.

In the unprecedented, deadly explosion, almost the entire Appiatse community, was left uninhabitable, and community members displaced as their homes were burnt.

A government delegation, led by Vice President Bawumia, immediately visited the area with emergency relief items and promised a swift action to rebuild the community for those affected.

That promise has now been fulfilled, following the construction, commissioning and handing over of the housing units.

Ahead of the commissioning, relieved and excited members of the Appiatse community held a candle light vigil, in remembrance of their loved ones who lost their lives during the explosion, as well as to celebrate their new homes.

Caring government

Speaking at ahead of the commissioning, Vice President Bawumia said the swift reconstruction of the community, as promised by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, underlines the government’s commitment to the welfare of those affected and the Ghanaian people. 

He recalled with sadness, events of January 20, 2022 but added that the commissioning, performed amidst fanfare by the community and rainfall, marked a special blessing from God.

“On Thursday, 20th January, 2022, we witnessed a very tragic incident at this community, at this same place where we are gathered today. A sudden explosion shook our foundations, shattered lives, and left scars etched deep into our collective memory. It left the Appiatse community, and, indeed, the entire country in deep sorrow and distress.

“The following day, on behalf of the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I led a delegation, which included Ministers, heads of the security agencies, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), and other officials of the Presidency, to commiserate with the victims of the incident.     I saw, at first hand, the devastation that the incident has caused to this once vibrant community, with some of our people unfortunately losing their lives, and others suffering various degrees of injuries, as well as the near-total collapse of the entire Appiatse community.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, today, we gather at this same venue, not just to commemorate the tragic event, but also to celebrate resilience, compassion, and the indomitable spirit of the people of Appiatse. While mourning those who lost their lives through this tragic incident, we stand in solidarity with the survivors who bear both physical and emotional wounds, and recognize the heroic efforts of our emergency responders, exemplified in the selflessness that defines our nation.

“There was fire and we cried. Today, as we rejoice, God has opened the sky and send down rainfall. This can only be a blessing from God,” Vice President Bawumia added. 

The NPP flagbearer emphasised that the adversity that hit Appiatse and the entire nation has had a way of revealing the strength Ghanaians to “rise, rebuild, and re-imagine.”

“From this tragedy emerged resilience. The resilience to rebuild the community. The resilience to bring hope to the suffering, and the unwavering commitment to lift the downtrodden.

“As we can all attest, Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, acted swiftly following the incident, and in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, relief was brought to the victims of the incident through the provision of relief items, the diversion of the road that was blown away, and its eventual fixing, and the provision of temporary accommodation for all those displaced,” Dr. Bawumia recalled.

Lands Minister trumpets government’s commitment

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor who spearheaded the reconstruction of Appiatse, reiterated government’s commitment to completing the remaining phases of the project, ensuring that all aspects of the community’s rebuilding are fulfilled.

According to him, the construction of the housing units was 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’.

“This reconstructed Appiatse Community, meticulously crafted, embody our 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 fifty (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 this afternoon, right after the commissioning of these buildings, the Vice President will cut sod for the commencement of work on Phase three, consisting of the construction of sixty-seven (67) additional buildings together with other facilities at the peripheries of the new community,” Mr. Jinapor who is also the MP for Damongo announced. 

Senior government officials who accompanied Dr. Bawumia included the Western Regional Minister Kwabena Otchere Darko-Mensah, Minister for Information Designate Fatimatu Abubakari, ministers of state and Divisional Chief Nana Atta Kwadwo Brembi II among others.

Nana Atta Kwadwo expressed gratitude for the coordinated effort in rebuilding the community while urging the government to expedite the completion of the remaining phases.