GHANA WILL observe three days of national mourning after scores of people were killed in a devastating explosion at a petrol station in the country’s capital, Accra,
Ghana’s president, John Mahama, called for three days of mourning to begin on Monday (June 8), after an estimated 150 people died from floods in the city and also the explosion, reported Al Jazeera.
Around 90 people who sought shelter from flooding overnight at the state-owned GOIL petrol station near a busy downtown intersection were killed, authorities said yesterday (Jun 4).
In addition to the dead at the petrol station, local media reported that dozens of people drowned in various parts of the city following two days of torrential rains.
The combined death toll from the explosion and flooding has crossed 150 and again raised concerns over the city’s inadequate infrastructure, according to Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera’s Ama Boateng, reporting from Accra, said: “This is a very busy area of Accra. Lots of people. Lots of car traffic.
“And because of the heavy rains people gathered at this gas station to seek shelter and this explosion happened.”
TV footage showed corpses being piled into the back of a pickup vehicle and other charred bodies trapped amid the debris.
Floodwaters around the site hampered rescue and recovery efforts.
Officials at the nearby 37 Military Hospital said its morgue had reached capacity.
About a dozen people were taken to hospital after Thursday’s blast in the petrol station in Accra.
President Mahama visited the scene, calling the death toll “catastrophic” and offering condolences to families of the victims.
“Steps will be taken to ensure that disastrous floods and their attendant deaths do not occur again,” he said.
Though the downpours this week have been especially bad, heavy rains in June are not unusual yet drainage systems in Accra remain inadequate.
The area where the blast occurred is a heavily trafficked section of central Accra with several banks and other offices in addition to residences. Multiple bus terminals connect the area to the rest of the city.
Throughout Accra, drivers caught in the flooding abandoned their cars on the road.
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