, news editor, Adventist Review
A 35-year-old Seventh-day Adventist minister was among at least 150 people who were killed in a freak explosion during a flood in Ghana’s capital, Accra, church leaders said Thursday.
The minister, Elisha Nhyira Obeng-Bobie, joined scores of people seeking refuge from rapidly rising floodwaters at a city filling station when lightning struck a nearby building, sparking the explosion.
Heavy rains are typical in Ghana during the months of June and July and usually cause flooding in Accra. But the June 3 flood has been declared the worst in the country’s history, and the explosion compounded its devastation.
“Pastor Obeng-Bobie was returning home from a study program at Babcock University when he was caught in the floods that served as his grave,” said Solace Asafo-Hlordzi, communication director for the Adventist Church’s Southern Ghana Union Conference based in Accra.
Babcock University is an Adventist-owned institution located between the Nigerian cities of Ibadan and Lagos.
Obeng-Bobie contacted his wife shortly before the disaster to inform her that he had arrived from Nigeria and was on board a vehicle headed for Kumasi, a major city in southern Ghana.
“That was the last time the family heard from him,” Asafo-Hlordzi said.
In an attempt to escape the floodwaters seeping into the vehicle in which he was riding, he and other passengers alighted at the filling station.
Obeng-Bobie served as the district pastor for Bolga West in the North Ghana Mission, which employed him for the past seven years. He is survived by his wife, three children, and his parents. He was buried Thursday.
Local Adventist leaders expressed their condolences to the families of all those affected by the explosion and the nationwide flooding.
“The church equally empathizes with the injured, displaced, and all who have lost valuable properties,” the Ghana church said in a statement e-mailed to the Adventist Review on Thursday. “Our hearts go out to all affected persons, and we pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be their source of great comfort in these trying times.”
Adventist leaders also called for national introspection and soul searching “to find solutions to the challenges we face as a nation,” and for church members to reach out to affected families.
“This is the time to be a source of comfort and help to those who mourn and are in need,” the statement said.