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Catholic Parish in Ghana Providing Accommodation to Gas Explosion Victims

Hall of St. Michael Catholic Church Bogoso in Ghana's Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese. Credit: Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese/Facebook

The Catholic Parish of St. Michael in Ghana's Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese is providing accommodation to victims of last week’s gas explosion that occurred near a mining town in the Southwestern region of the country.

On January 20, at least 13 people were killed in an explosion when a truck carrying explosives to a gold mine collided with a motorcycle near the town of Bogoso in the Prestea Huni Valley municipality, BBC News reported.

The explosion reportedly destroyed dozens of houses, rendering hundreds of people homeless.

In a Monday, January 24 interview with ACI Africa, the Parish Priest of St. Michael Bogoso Catholic Church said the Parish has opened its doors to welcome those who had become homeless following the January 20 explosion.

“St. Michael Bogoso Catholic Church has wholeheartedly welcomed and accommodated the victims at her Parish Hall,” Fr. Edward Cudjoe told ACI Africa.

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Fr. Cudjoe added, “The Church has embarked on this spiritual exercise with recourse to the parable of Christ and the corporal works of mercy: shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, feed the hungry.”

“The Church tries as much as possible in accordance with her ability to provide some of the basic necessities like toiletries, clothes, sponge etc., and some breakfast and snacks to supplement the provisions of the state and the local community,” the Ghanaian Priest said. 

He also expressed his appreciation to the Ghanaian government for supporting the victims saying, “The Church appreciates the Ghana government for enormous donations and provisions made to the victims.”

“We entreat government agencies and international organizations and communities to come to aid our dear brethren who find themselves in this unfortunate situation,” Fr. Cudjoe said.

He continued, “All hope is lost for some of them. But I believe that the little that we all do help put body and soul together once more. It (the little) would again remind them of the fact that God has not given up on them.”

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Ghana’s government has offered financial support to the injured and the families of victims, and promised to rebuild the houses destroyed following the explosion. 

The government has urged the State Housing Company (SHC) to liaise with mining companies in the area to carry out the reconstruction plan.

Meanwhile, the leadership of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese has paid a solidarity visit to those who have been offered accommodation at St. Michael Catholic Parish. 

In a January 21 report by the leadership of the Ghanian Catholic Diocese, the Vicar General, Fr. Francis Kofi Lemaire, paid a solidarity to the victims.​

“Fr. Lemaire on behalf of the Bishop, Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh and the faithful of the Diocese expressed their condolences to the bereaved families of those affected by the tragic incident.,” officials of the Ghanaian Diocese say in the report.

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They add, “Fr. Lemaire also informed the displaced victims of the prayers of Bishop Attakruh and expressed how he was saddened by the events.”

“In consultation with Rev. Fr. Edward Cudjoe, the Parish Administrator of St. Michael's Parish, Bogoso, the Bishop has made available the parish hall to be used temporarily to accommodate the surviving but displaced victims,” the January 21 report indicates. 

In the report, Bishop Attakruh appeals “to all parishes to offer any form of assistance: money, used clothes, non-perishable food items etc., to help the victims.” 

The Ghanaian Bishop directs that the contributions be channeled through the Parish Priest, Fr. Cudjoe.