Ghanaian President John Mahama on Thursday announced three days of mourning after an explosion at a petrol station and flooding caused by torrential rains killed around 150 people. The blast is the worst disaster to hit Ghana in more than a decade, according to the president.
June 6 th, 2015
According to officials, several people, who sought overnight shelter from torrential rains at the GOIL gas station, were killed in the explosion. The death toll has risen up to 150 on Friday. Officials said thousands of people were made homeless in the citywide flooding.
“It was an explosive fire and so the people sheltering at the filling station did not have an opportunity to escape,” said fire brigade spokesperson Anaglate.
Some nearby residents survived the fire, only to be swept away by the gushing waters.
Mostly those who struggle to get home through the storm, with roads closed and buses not running, caused the bulk of those trapped in the explosion, according to eye witnesses.
A woman who survived the gruesome incident said she had sought refuge at the station from floods that prevented her from returning home from work, but was quickly alerted by the smell of gasoline. She then sought shelter at a bank building.
Charred bodies retrieved
Rescue workers retrieved most charred bodies, including that of a small child. Victims included drivers of public transportation and their passengers waiting out the rain away from the open terminal where buses operate from, authorities said.
Others were motorists who had stopped to refuel, but they perished instead, said Ebenezer Ampaabeng from Ghana Broadcasting Corp.
Television footage and photos of the accident site show images of charred bodies and vehicles still smouldering, and churning waters in nearby streets.
President on scene
President John Mahama said that he is heart-broken and at “loss for words…This loss of life is catastrophic and almost unprecedented.” “We must sit down and strategise to make sure this does not happen again,” he added.
The three-day mourning period will start on Monday as rescue operations will continue until Sunday. The death toll from the explosion is expected to increase, the president said on Friday.
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