The Minister for the Interior, Mr. Ambrose Dery, has called on the general public to adhere to the ban on beaches across the country in order to prevent further loss of lives amidst the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This follows the drowning of about 20 children at Apam in the Central Region recently.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, 11 March 2021, the Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Nandom Constituency, disclosed that his ministry is working together with other relevant agencies to assist the families of the deceased and the people of Apam in the search for the missing bodies.
Mr Dery said: “We went together with the Disaster Management, NADMO, and other state agencies, to see in what way we can be of assistance. The Minister of Fisheries, Hawa Koomson, has already been there with the Regional Minister-designate.
“But I want to assure my colleagues and the people of Apam, Gomoa West, that the Ministry for the Interior is going to work with all relevant agencies to see what little comfort we can give, and above all, to see how we can find out exactly what happened.”
He added: “Let me use this opportunity to appeal to our people to respect the ban that has been put in place and to help us see through this COVID-19 pandemic with as little loss as possible to us, this is not even a direct loss as a result of COVID-19.”
Mr Dery also extended his condolences to the family of the deceased children.
The ban on beaches forms part of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the MP for Gomoa West, Mr Richard Gyan Mensah, has said another body of a drowned teenager has been retrieved.
This brings the total number of deaths to 13.
Giving an account of the incident to Parliament, the MP explained that according to witnesses, “a high tide suddenly swept across the shores at the location where these young ones were swimming, dragging a number of them far offshore to the depths of the sea.”
He noted: “Sadly, only two of the victims rescued survived but with condition that required urgent medical attention”.
“They were immediately rushed to the St Luke Catholic Hospital at Apam where they were treated and discharged the next day.”
The Gomoa West MP, however, noted that 10 out of the 13 bodies have been identified.
“It is extremely devastating to report that the lifeless bodies of now 13 of the teenagers were retrieved from the sea by the intervention of the fishermen and the fishermen council at Apam. The 13 include 11 boys and two females, all of whom are in their early teens. Out of the thirteen bodies retrieved, 10 have been identified by the family members. It is our hope that the remaining three will be identified as soon as possible,” the MP stated.
The MP further disclosed that a search is ongoing for the remaining bodies, as the Fishermen Council has been resourced to do so.
“Together with the District Chief Executive and the District Police Commander, we’re working to provide some form of relief to the parents of the victims and speed up the process of the release of the bodies,” the Gomoa West MP added.
The first 12 bodies of the children were retrieved on Sunday, 7 March 2021 after the disaster.