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General News | Jan 26, 2005

Tema Station Fire Victims ill Not Be Compensated

Five thousand squatters and traders at the Tema Station who lost property worth millions of cedis when fire swept through the area on Monday will not get any form of compensation whatsoever.

This is because their occupation of the area was unauthorised and also their wares were not covered by insurance.

The Head of Markets at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr. Emmanuel Asare, said though the Station was earmarked for a transport terminal, it has been occupied by a number of squatters and unauthorised traders.

“Even though the traders and most of those operating there were supposed to regularise their occupation and operations every year, most of them have not done that,” he said.

There is also little likelihood of help coming from the state through the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) since the operations of the squatters were unauthorised.

Some of the illegal occupants have constructed structures used as chop bars, shops, among others, and when these caught fire property running into millions of cedis was destroyed.

The lively atmosphere at the Tema Station on Tuesday turned into one of mourning as traders, who came to the scene wailed and shed tears as most of them lost all their items in the fire.

The tearful traders, who lost their wares, were wondering why the disaster occurred. They shed uncontrollable tears while personnel of the GNFS were making frantic efforts to quench the smoldering fire.

The items destroyed included gas cylinders, secondhand cloths, telecommunication centres, shoes and electrical appliances belonging to the traders at the Station, which had been kept in a wooden warehouse of the Tema Station Traders Association.

The Mayor of Accra Mr. Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, in the company of Mr. Henry Nii Lante Plange, Metro Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), went to the scene to see the extent of the damage as well as console the victims.

Mr. Blankson said the AMA regarded the place as a lorry station and not a market and described the victims as squatters, who were allowed to trade to enable them to make a livelihood.

He said the AMA could not stop people from migrating to the city to make a living, adding that AMA would see to the clearance of the debris and later invite the Leadership of the Tema Station Traders Association and find out what could be done.

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