Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia interacting with the bereaved families
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, yesterday, visited the bereaved families of students who perished at the Kintampo Waterfall when a falling tree landed on them, with a promise of GH¢2,000 to each of them to meet the cost of their interment.
He also promised that government would foot the hospital bills of the injured who are currently receiving treatment at the Kintampo Hospital.
Twenty students reportedly died when the tragedy struck. They had gone to take shelter after a heavy rainstorm during an excursion to the waterfall.
Vice President Bawumia was accompanied on the trip by a team of government officials, including the Tourism Minister, Catherine Afeku. The first port of call was the Kintampo Government Hospital where he consoled the injured students.
He also visited the families of three of the students who died in the tragedy and hailed from Kintampo where he dropped the promise of supporting them with the burial expenses after parting with an undisclosed amount of money.
The Vice President then turned to the disaster scene – the Kintampo Waterfall – where after examining the place, he said an investigation of the accident would be undertaken and this he assured, would inform the next line of action.
Having completed his assignment in Kintampo, the Veep headed for Wenchi where he visited the Wenchi Senior High School and interacted with the grief-stricken students.
He told the students, “It is with a heavy heart that I come here today. The whole country is in mourning. I woke up this morning and spoke to President Nana Akufo-Addo who is in Geneva, Switzerland. He would have been here today if he had been in the country. I am here in his stead to console you. It is a loss for all of us.”
He described the deceased students as vibrant and energetic who went to see how the world works and tragedy befell them, adding that there are things, such as this, which cannot be explained in life. “Everything which happens in life,” he went on, “is by God’s will, good or bad as the good book says.”
The government and the people of Ghana, he assured them, would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them during these trying moments. “We stand with you, mourn with you and would do everything to ease the burden of performing the funerals of the deceased and footing the bills of the injured,” Dr Bawumia asserted.
He attracted an applause from the grief-stricken students when he said, “This school was founded in 1963 and that was the year I was born. I feel close to you. All things come from God and sometimes we can’t explain certain things but because we have faith in God, we believe that the deceased are in heaven.”
The Vice President encouraged them to study hard and move on with their lives in spite of what had befallen their colleagues and friends, and should not allow the mishap to disrupt their studies in anyway. He appreciated the challenges they were passing through, given what had happened, pointing out that he knows that some of them are unable to sleep as a result.
About 11 other people sustained injuries – eight of them are on admission at the Techiman Municipal Hospital – while three others had been rushed to Kumasi for special care.
Firemen were seen at the site cutting trees and removing debris from the water yesterday.
Kintampo Fire Service PRO Kwaku Boateng, told the media that the intensified operational activities of the Service were aimed at finding out if there were more bodies under the water.
One of the teachers told Joy Fm that they instructed the students to vacate the place after the weather had turned windy.
He said while the students made their way to the exit, two trees tumbled and nearly fell on the students. This then prompted a change in direction.
“One of the teachers later instructed them to take shelter elsewhere,” he added.
He said the huge tree then fell on them while taking refuge at a place they thought was safe enough.
From Daniel Dayee, Sunyani