At least 13 buildings were reduced to piles of rubble from January to early July this year in seven regions in Ghana. The collapse of these buildings resulted in the death of nine persons, including two children. It caused injury to 66 people in 2023 alone.
The latest incident occurred on July 4, 2023.
Eight tragedies were recorded in the Greater Accra Region with Eastern, Central, Western, Western North, Northern, Ashanti, and Upper West regions recording an incident each.
A National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) investigation team traced the causes of the collapse to foundation failures, poor design and supervision, non-adherence to standard regulations, and usage of unstandardized materials with questionable strength, among others.
This spate of catastrophes is not unique to 2023. At least 42 other such disasters have been reported across the country since 2010.
Fact-Check Ghana has combed through media reports and compiled a list of collapsed buildings in the country from 2010 to date. The list includes school buildings, churches, houses, and shopping centres. These incidents have caused the deaths of at least 70 persons and injured 329 others.
The data shows that in the 13 years under review in the Greater Accra Region alone, 14 buildings, including a shopping centre, a hotel, schools, and churches, crumbled due to building code violations.
The Accra metropolis in the Greater Accra Region stands out as the area with the highest number of collapsed buildings. This is followed by the Ashanti Region with the second highest cases of structural disintegration, including a five-storey building under renovation.
Fact-Check Ghana had to rely on media reports because NADMO said it has no database on the subject. Fact-check Ghana was provided with less than 20 incidences which does not reflect the high number of catastrophes. The media reports and the data from NADMO however tallied, except for the Melcom disaster where there were discrepancies in the number of injured people.
Explaining the cause of the structural collapses, NADMO’s Chief Disaster Control Officer, Richard Amo Yartey, said a team of three engineers and a geologist with the organization conducted investigations into the causes of the recent collapse of buildings.
The investigation team found foundation failures, poor design, poor supervision, non-adherence to standard regulations, usage of unstandardized materials with questionable strength, retrofitting and renovation (where inappropriate structural changes are made to a building) as well as inappropriate use of buildings.