Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ghana department store collapses in Accra

Pictures from a local news site Citifm show the extent of the damage in Accra

A multi-storey department store has collapsed in Ghana's capital, Accra, with many people believed to be trapped inside.

Rescue efforts are under way, with officials confirming that two people died when the Melcom store collapsed.

The BBC's Sammy Darko, who is at the scene, says five people have been pulled out of the rubble so far.

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama said he has suspended his campaign for next month's election.
His deputy, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, is co-ordinating rescue efforts after the building collapsed in the city's Achimota neighbourhood.

Officials say they believe about 50 people were inside the Melcom store when it collapsed at around opening time.

Hundreds of rescuers are digging through the rubble, amid fears that dozens of people are trapped inside, our correspondent says.

"I was very close to the mall because I was going to buy something only for me to see the building coming down," resident Ama Okyere told the AFP news agency.

"I had to run for my life. I was so terrified. I believe there are lots of people trapped under this because this is a heavily patronised shopping mall in the area."

Family members have been trying to call relatives feared trapped beneath the rubble on their mobile phones, AFP reports.

Another witness, John Owusu, said he heard a bang before the building collapsed.

President Mahama, in a tweet moments after the building collapsed, said: "My prayers are with the workers, shoppers and others who are trapped in the rubble of the Achimota Melcom building."

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