More than 90 people have been killed in an
explosion at a petrol station in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
Most of those who died had taken refuge in the forecourt during a bout of torrential
rain. The blast was caused by a fire that erupted
at a nearby lorry terminal, which then spread to the petrol station and nearby buildings. “It kept raining, so there was still rain water rising up and because it is a filling station, there was a lots of gas around that contaminated the water The fuel was not mixable with the water, so it would float on the surface of the water but it was rain water, so it was able to run from the filling station quite a distance to where there was a naked fire, and the fire went from there” Emergency crews continued to remove the bodies of some of the victims amid fears the death
toll could rise. Initial signs suggested the fire started by
accident. President John Mahama, who visited the area,
said he was heartbroken over the tragic incident. “A lot of people have lost their lives.
I’m at a loss of words to express how I feel. Yesterday the emergency services, including
the military, the police, the fire service, were called out to come and help. They managed
to rescue quite a large number of people but unfortunately a large number of people lost
their lives.” Flooding is said to have hampered rescue efforts
after the country experienced two days of torrential rain.
Mahama blamed the floods partly on homes and businesses built on waterways, blocking the
city’s drainage systems. “The
time has come, you know, for us to remove houses out of water and the public should
understand that it is necessary to save everybody else.”
Parts of Accra have been left without power as flooding damaged electricity sub stations
– making ongoing energy shortages even worse. With forecasters predicting more rain, it’s
a worrying situation for a country already on its knees.