Daily Trust (Abuja)

Ghana: Collapsed Building - Death Toll Now 18

More bodies have been recovered from the debris of the Melcom shopping mall that collapsed on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 18. Six persons were confirmed dead and several others were injured on the first day.

Rescue workers have intensified search for more victims with the arrival of an eight-man rescue team from Israel on Thursday. The combined rescue team are working dexterously for more survivors, nearly 72 hours after the disaster occurred.

According to the rescue workers, more bodies could still be underneath the rubble, as they have deployed more equipment to facilitate the search for bodies.

As the minutes tick away, it is doubtful whether there still could be survivors under the rubble from the collapsed building.

However, the owner of the collapsed structure, Nana Boadu Nkansah Ayeboafo has debunked reports that the building was not duly authorized by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

Ayeboafo told newsmen that contrary to reports making the round, he obtained a building permit for the edifice.

The Chief Executive of Accra Metropolitan Assembly Mr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije on Wednesday alleged that the building had no permit, just as he threatened to penalize those guilty for the blunder.

But Ayaboafo, who regretted the tragedy, defended himself saying, "It is not my wish for the building to collapse. There is no way I will put up a building and do a shoddy work. I will plead that the right thing will be said and also allow for investigations. I am so sad but I accept blame.

However the owner of the building blamed the management of Melcom for the disaster, insisting that they disregarded his advice not to put heavy structures upstairs.

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