June 3 disaster Relief items go to wrong hands

These people, who have up-to-date information on locations of where items are distributed, spend hours in long queues and wait for stud comprising mainly of food and clothing.

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Some unscrupulous people, not affected by the June 3 flood and fire disaster in Accra, are cunningly taking advantage of the unfortunate situation to collect relief items meant for victims.

These people, who have up-to-date information on locations of where items are distributed, spend hours in long queues and wait for stud comprising mainly of food and clothing.

A victim, Madam Doris Aryee, who lives in Adabraka, one of the areas worst affected by the flood, told The Mirror that though some people living in the area were not affected by the floods, they had submitted their names as victims and continually struggle head to head with victims over relief items.

She said in some instances, the items were also distributed based on political affiliations.

“A few days after the flood, we were called to come for some items, but it appeared some people belonging to certain political parties were given more of the items which were intended for everyone affected.”

Though she hesitated to mention any political party, she stated that the criteria for sharing of relief items, especially those that came from the government sources, were shared with political biases.

“Everyone in the community knows this; we live here so we know those who associate with party A or B and it is obvious there is selectivity in giving out items,” she added.

Inaccurate database

Confirming this to The Mirror, a clinical psychologist at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Ghana, Mr Alfred Nii Nortey Dua, who has been very active in the distribution of items to victims, said there had been some instances where some people not affected had turned up at the centres for some of the items.

He said until a proper system with accurate information on the real victims was put in place, ‘fake’ victims would continue to collect items meant for others.

According to him, the process was not being properly coordinated and if suitable measures were not taken, those who really needed the items would not be attended to.

Psychological help

He said though the items were necessary, it was also important to check the mental health of survivors of the fire and flood as cases left unattended to could result in serious mental disorders.

“There are people who keep seeing gory images and are yet to recover from the events. A lot of these people are resorting to alcohol and other drugs to relieve them of the pain and trauma and these substances have varied negative long-term effects on users,” he explained.

Mr Dua said already, the Mental Health Authority with support from some psychiatrists, had interacted with over 500 of the victims but that alone could not solve the problem.

To him, the victims would need regular follow-ups to check their mental and general health.

“So far, we have collected over 400 names and other vital information from some of the victims, apart from giving them relief items. We are looking forward to organising workshops and vocational training sessions as most of them had lost their working capital,”

He said based on their backgrounds, they would be divided into groups and supported to get back into business.

The clinical psychologist expressed gratitude to the Legon Inter-denominational Church (LIC) for supporting the victims and their families with food items last Wednesday.

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Credit: Graphic.com.gh

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