A scene at the Accra Mall
The portion of the Accra Mall whose ceiling caved in last Thursday and injured three persons has been shut down until an integrity audit of the whole structure is completed, an official of the company has disclosed.
A visit to the distressed mall shows that the accident area has been cordoned off to allow for investigations.
Frantic efforts were on to ensure that the remaining sections of the busy shopping arcade were spared the shutdown which had been slapped on the electronic hub shortly after the cave-in incident. Marketing Manager of the mall, Denise Asare, added her voice to the restriction of the shutdown to the disaster section when she announced that the activities at the facility had resumed in earnest.
Following last Thursday’s accident at Accra’s foremost shopping arcade, The Accra Mall, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) will decide whether or not to restrict business to the affected segment or shut down the whole facility until the structural integrity of the facility is established.
Head of the Geological Disaster Department of NADMO, Richard Amo Yartey, said “full-scale investigations have just begun and (we are considering) if it is safe for the entire mall to be opened to the general public, and only the affected part cordoned off. That is the discussion we are having with managers of the mall to see whether it is safe to open up the mall while investigations continue”.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, NADMO’s initial position is that the caving in of the ceiling of the electronic segment has not breached the integrity of the structure of the mall to demand a total shut down of the whole facility.
Should the ongoing audit by NADMO reveal integrity breaches of other sections, the official added “we could order for general assessment of the integrity of the entire roofing of the mall”.
Regardless of the ongoing investigations by NADMO, Mr. Yartey disclosed that management of the mall must also undertake their independent audit.
Ms Denise Asare has also said the mall has resumed operations because preliminary investigations do not suggest the place should be closed to shoppers.
According to her, preliminary investigations did not find a shutdown necessary.
Shortly after the incident and following the deployment of security personnel to the place, the authorities of the mall issued a statement of reassurance to members of the general public.
The statement, among other things, pointed out that necessary measures were taken to ensure customer safety adding that it was hopeful that by the end Thursday, the mall would have become fully operational.
Mall management went on to state that their public safety benchmark “remains paramount and every necessary step to safeguard these standards would be taken.”
Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea, one of the top government officials to visit the scene of the disaster, said management of the mall had assured him of the safety measures being adopted to ensure public safety. One of the measures is checking the integrity of the roof structures to obviate recurrence.
The poor maintenance culture among Ghanaians has been blamed for the recorded tragedies to have visited the country. The Melcom story is regarded as a case in point.
President Akufo-Addo while reacting to the Accra Mall accident called for a concerted upholding of the maintenance culture to obviate such mishaps.
Three sustained injuries in the mall accident and were treated at the medical centre of the facility.
By A.R. Gomda