Melcom Shopping Center Disaster

In Ghana, I visited two malls: Accra Mall and Melcom. The former is two stories with a movie theater, Apple store, and primarily western designer clothing stores. Melcom is a four-story behemoth comparable to a Walmart.

Photo taken by me last January at Melcom

Shortly before opening for business yesterday, the building’s foundation collapsed.

Photo by BBC News

This collapse claimed 14 lives while injuring over 70 who have been pulled from the rubble. And while there are no official accounts of how many were inside at the time, there are likely more injuries to come.

Photo by BBC News

The building did not have a permit, and was possibly never inspected. Authorities are now searching for the owner of the building.

Photo by BBC News

I remember sitting down and buying kettle corn on the top floor of Melcom. The thought that such a new looking building could instantly collapse is honestly disturbing to me.  Also disturbing is the following photo I took with Santa while inside Melcom.

Photo taken last January at Melcom

According to the Ghana Daily Guide, Isaac Listowel, an air conditioner repairer for Melcom, saw one of the pillars of the Melcom walls with cracks last Sunday afternoon and reported the matter to one of the supervisors for action. He took no action, retorting, “The Lord is with us”, and left.

It’s rather astounding to think that such a massive four-story building can be built without permits and operate for such a length of time without being noticed by authorities. I only hope that the Ghanaian people remember this situation in the future, to ensure that such a travesty will never happen again.

 My heart goes out to all those affected by the tragedy.

Aboa bi bɔka wo a, ɔfiri wo ntoma mu. 

Edit: As some have noticed, the Melcom I took the photos in was not the one that collapsed.