“The Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) will continue to support victims of the Appiatse disaster,” says Dr. Kennedy Abrokwah, Head of the Fund’s Business Development Unit.
The support will be in terms of money and other items which are badly needed by the Western Region community, one year after mining explosives claimed the lives of sixteen of its members.
The tragedy occurred when a truck carrying explosives to a mine site was involved in a freak accident with a tri-cycle resulting in the undue heating-up of the mine bound explosives. Houses in the entire community of about two thousand people were destroyed rendering residents homeless. Several other people sustained injuries which have permanently maimed them.
“MIIF donated tents, foodstuffs and cash worth almost a million Ghana cedis, when this disaster occurred,” Dr. Abrokwah said at a one year commemorative weeklong event held in Appiatse. The event which included a prayer, vigil and wreath-laying service was to thank Ghanaians for their help and goodwill as well as remember the departed and those living with the pain.
“January 20th, 2022 will continue to be on our minds as a terrible day,” Dr. Abrokwah told the gathering. “We lost our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. Nothing can make them come back. At MIIF, we will continue to support you so that your hope in life is assured. You can be back on your feet. It is really painful but we will be there with you through it all,” Dr. Abrokwah said.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the government of Ghana rallied corporate bodies and well-meaning individuals to help rehabilitate the victims by taking care of their medical bills and housing needs through the creation of the Appiatse Support Fund. Contributions trickled in from all over the country and beyond. Maxam, the explosives company whose products were responsible for the explosion was fined $ 6million (six million dollars), all of which was given to the Support Fund as part of the money for the benefit of the Appiatse people. The Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) also donated to the Support Fund.
MIIF carried out a needs assessment of the community after the explosion and followed up with the donation of necessities worth over GHc 250,000 to the victims. This was in addition to a GHc 200,000 donation made to the Appiatse Support Fund, a fund set up by government purposely to receive cash donations towards supporting victims and reconstruction of the Appiatse Township.
The one year commemoration begun with a cleanup exercise at the Appiatse Relief Camp on Wednesday January 18 and ended on Sunday January 22, 2023 with a thanksgiving service. On Thursday, there was a candlelight vigil at the durbar ground at the Relief Camp where a documentary was shown on how the explosion happened, throwing the gathering into a state of mourning.
The vigil brought together dignitaries in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality including the Municipal Chief Executive, the Municipal Coordinating Director, Chiefs, and the clergy among others. A five member MIIF team, also led by Dr. Kennedy Abrokwa attended the events. The Municipal Chief Executive Dr. Isaac Dasmani urged the people to stay positive and united for there is light at the end.
There was a safety lecture, memorial prayer and wreath laying exercise on Friday January 20, which marked exactly one year the explosion happened. Community folks were educated on safety tips to practice in order to prevent such disasters from happening again.
As Friday January 20 marked exactly one year since the explosion happened, the part of the road where the explosion happened was blocked for about ten minutes to mourn the departed souls of the explosion. A memorial prayer was also held at the site. This was followed by a wreath laying exercise at the cemetery.
Indoor games were held on Saturday followed by a thanksgiving service on Sunday January 22, 2023, at the Relief Camp to climax the one-year commemoration. The Minerals Income Investment Fund will continue to support Appiatse with additional donation planned for 2023.