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12.05.2008 General News

Where is our share of Asokwa Disaster Fund? Victims ask

By The Statesman

Barely seven months after the establishment of the Asokwa Disaster Fund by the Member of Parliament of the Area, Maxwell Kofi Jumah to cater for the needs of victims of the Asokwa Gas explosion, concerns have been raised about the delay in disbursing the funds.

The fund was intended to cater for medical and other expenses of the victims as well as their upkeep for the time being until appropriate and long term measures are taken to bring back life to them. 135 victims of the explosion did not benefit from any insurance cover from the gas company because the Engas filling station failed to take up a public liability insurance cover.

The filling station only took up fire, goods-in-transit, and motor insurance, and these policies do not allow individuals to be compensated in the event of a fire outbreak, or the collapse of the building, as in public liability insurance.

According to some of the victims who were speaking to the host of Light Fm's Super Morning show, Nana Akwasi Prempeh on Thursday, they were yet to receive any funds from the managers of the fund which has the Asokwahene, Nana Fi Baah Amoah as its Chairman.

According to them, "we have waited patiently for all these months for our share of the funds to be released to us but nothing has been heard from them."

One of the ladies among the victims alleged that she had visited the Asokwahene's palace several times to plead for funds to cater for her little child but she has been chased out on each occasion by the Asokwahene.

Five of the victims who are still nursing their wounds disclosed that they have become a burden to their families since they have no gainful employment as a result of their injuries.

Three persons, including the owner of the Engas filling station died as a result of the explosion, while 25 vehicles and 30 buildings were totally destroyed at a cost estimated at over 2.8 billion old Ghana cedis.

An amount of GH¢2,300 was realised at the launch of the Fund but in an interview with this paper, the Asokwahene indicated that there was only GH¢950 in the account because most of the pledges and promises have not been fulfilled thereby making it difficult to disburse any money to the victims.

Also in a telephone interview with this paper, the MP for Asokwa, Maxwell Kofi Jumah said his responsibility was to give to the fund which he had done while the rest lies in the hands of NADMO, the KMA and Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council.

He said if these authorities can not respond to the needs of the victims "then their activities should be looked at once again."

By slarge

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