Like most of the people who were affected by the June 3 flood and fire disaster last year, 34-year-old Alex Mensah, popularly known as Mr Lee, had gone to the Goil filling station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to seek shelter from the rain on that fateful day.
Little did he know that fire and flood would soon engulf the very place he considered safe. Although Mr Lee was the only survivor among eight other colleagues who were also drivers at the Apaa-Wa Co-operative Transport Society, he is yet to recover from the disaster as he suffered severe burns on his legs, hands, face and eye.
He said after he was discharged from hospital, his three children disowned him and screamed each time they saw him because of the level of his deformity.
“They will run away and say I am ‘’kakai’’, he added. As a result of this, he had to relocate to his mother’s house as his children would cry anytime they set eyes on him. While thanking God for sparing his life, he admitted that life after the accident has been difficult as he is now unable to work because of his condition and has become a liability to his family.
To make matters worse, his wife, who sold food near the interchange, had to quit selling after they were sacked to make way for the construction. He said he was now living on the charity of friends and his 67-year-old mother. Added to his woes, the accident has affected his eyes and he has to go to the 37 Military Hospital every week for review.
“At the moment, I am being asked to buy some medicine for the eye but unfortunately, times are hard for me and I am unable to buy them. I am not working and my wife too is not working, our three children have been forced out of school because we cannot afford their fees and the other daily expenses on them,” he said.
Alex Mensah noted that while on admission at the 37 Military Hospital after the accident, many top government officials visited him and other victims of the accident and promised to help them rebuild their lives as soon as they were discharged.
Though he admitted that his medical bills were settled by the government and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mensah said after he was discharged from hospital, he had gone to the AMA several times with the hope of getting some form of assistance, but to no avail. “Anytime I go to the AMA office, they tell me to hold on and promise they will call me but I never hear from them.
After many fruitless attempts to and fro, I lost interest and decided not go there at all because I can’t continue wasting my little money to board trotro without getting something concrete,” the obviously disappointed Mensah said.
Disappointed family members
Meanwhile, Mr Frank Osei, a businessman, whose brother was one of the people who perished in the accident, says, the family has not received the money that was promised them by the AMA.
He said after the incident, they incurred a lot of cost, including hiring a car at the cost of GH¢1,200 which sent the remains of his brother to their hometown, Asokore Mampong, in the Ashanti Region.
To be a beneficiary of the AMA fund, the family was asked to get a burial permit which cost GH¢420 and a hospital card at GH¢ 65 from the Police Hospital in addition to other expenses.
“I have gone to the AMA office countless times but I haven’t received anything. All the time, they would tell me they are still working on the documentation process. I have now realised they are lying to me and have decided not to follow up again.
“My brother left behind a child and I have decided to fend for the child, but what hurts me is the time I have wasted trying to get some money to compensate our family,” he added.