Ghana Mall Collapses, Guatemala Houses Tumble

Ghana Mall Collapse

At least three people died earlier this week after a six-storey shopping mall collapsed in the Ghanian capital of Accra, media sources say.

Meanwhile, a number of houses collapsed onto residents in Guatemala City following a 7.5 magnitude earthquake near the town of Champerico, with the latest reports putting the number of people killed at at least 39.

In the first incident, at least three people were killed when the Melcom Shopping Mall collapsed in Accra, the capital of Ghana, although at least 46 survivors have been pulled out in a dramatic rescue operation.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama has ordered an investigation and has promised to hold account anyone found to be at fault.

It is not known whether anyone is still unaccounted for, but police say around 50 people reportedly work in the building, which collapsed just before opening time on Wednesday morning, and there are concerns over the possibility of others being trapped inside due to the extreme heat and their inability to access water.

Workers from a nearby construction site rushed to help in the rescue efforts.

Guatemala earthquake

In Guatemala, houses collapsed on residents, huge landslides sent terrified villagers streaming into the streets and buildings shook following as far away as Mexico City and El Salvador as an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale and with a depth of about 30 kilometres struck off the country’s southwest coast.

President Otto Perez Molina said at least 48 people were dead – 40 in the state of San Marco and eight more in neighbouring Quetzaltenango.

More than 300 people, including firefighters, policemen and villagers, tried to dig through a half ton of sand at a quarry in the commercial centre of town in a desperate attempt to rescue seven people who were believed to be buried alive.

In one case, a man was helping to load a tiny casket from the San Marcos’ morgue into a pickup truck. It bore his niece, who had been playing in her room when a wall fell on her.

Many of the colourful adobe buildings in the centre of San Marcos were either cracked or reduced to rubble, including the police station and the courthouse. The tremor also left a large gash in one of the streets.

By Andrew Heaton
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