The mortal remains of 11 out of the 13 teenagers who got drowned on the beach of Apam on Sunday, March 7, have been laid to rest at Apam in the Gomoa West District of the Central Region.
This was after an interdenominational joint burial service and series of traditional rites were performed to pave way for the children to be properly buried.
A total of 13 bodies including two girls and 11 boys, were retrieved, while two boys, aged 14 and 15, were rescued.
However, one female victim whose decomposed face was beyond recognition was yet to be identified and was still at the mortuary awaiting identification, collection and burial. Meanwhile one other boy had already been buried.
On Sunday, March 7, 2021 over a dozen youth aged between 14 and17 years got drowned when they went to the beach to swim.
The move by the deceased was in contravention of the President’s ban on activities at beaches, but the youth from Apam and its environs sneaked to their rendezvous and met their death when they encountered high tide.
At the funeral ceremony, hundreds of mourners from all walks of life clad in red and black proved difficult to practise social distancing at the St. Luke Catholic hospital.
Prominent mourners included traditional and religious leaders, family relation and various youth groups who sang dirges in remembrance of their beloved ones.
Also in attendance were scores of school children who shed tears uncontrollably as their deceased colleagues names were cancelled from the class registers.
Many other mourners who wore T-shirts embossed with the pictures of the deceased sang dirges and war songs saying never again.
Delivering the sermon, Reverend Father Derek Felix Kwesi Acquah of the Apam Catholic Church, urged the public not to despair believing that the deceased were resting in the bosom of the Lord.
Using the life of the biblical Job, he said death was inevitable and a blessing to all Christians.
He urged all to remain committed and dedicated to the work of God by renewing their faith in the Lord.
Mrs Justina Marygold Assan, Central Regional Minister, expressed her deepest condolences to the bereaved families and prayed never again should such disaster repeat.
She stressed the need for lifeguards to be trained and stationed along the beaches across the Central Region.
Nonetheless, the Mrs Assan thanked the rescue team especially the youth, fishermen and the community at large who worked tirelessly to retrieve the dead bodies.
She asked the families of the deceased to psyche and support the surviving children to enable them go about their normal duties.
Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development who represented the President extended his condolences to the bereaved families.
She advised parents to monitor the movements of their children to ensure such avoidable tragedies were avoided.
Additionally, she advised the youth to priotise their welfare and safety by sidestepping social misdeeds and misguided behaviours that will jeopardize their future.
On behalf of Government and the people of Ghana, Mrs Koomson donated 10,000 each to the bereaved families, 10,000 to the community and 5,000 each to the survivors.
Speaking on behalf of the Gomoa Akeampim Traditional Council, Nana Essel Botwe, Queen Mother of Apam, allayed the lingering fears of the untimely death of the teenagers, saying all the necessary traditional rites had been performed to pave the way for the children to be buried.
“The customary rites to pacify the gods had been performed at a sacred location to appease the gods and prevent further occurrence of such tragedy, which had thrown the town into an area of mourning,” she said.
However, she refuted claimed been circulated on social media that the victims went to the beach to have sex and urged all to treat it with the contempt it deserves.