Accra, June 5 (IANS): Over 200 people were killed in an explosion at a gas station in Ghana’s capital Accra, even as torrential rains lashed the West African nation, the interior ministry said. The Goil Filling Station at Nkrumah Circle in Accra caught fire after explosion on Wednesday (June 3) night during torrential rains.
Most of the dead bodies has been deposited at the 37 military hospital where 35 survivors are undergoing treatment, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. It is still not clear what triggered the fire at the gas station.
Eyewitnesses said that the blast was a result of petrol spillage on the surface of the flooding water, which sparked fire from a nearby trading centre. Many victims were taking shelter at the station from days of heavy downpours that have triggered widespread flooding and paralysed public transport in the city, said the witnesses.
Emergency response personnel are still working at the scene to retrieve any bodies buried under the debris of the station. Interior Minister Mark Woyongo has called the incident a national disaster.
President John Dramani Mahama has announced a three-day national mourning. Flags will fly at half-mast all over the country during the three-day mourning expected to start on Monday (June 8).
The announcement came after a national emergency security council meeting held at the Flagstaff House on Thursday afternoon, chaired by Mahama. The government has also released an amount of 60 million cedis ($15 million) to support victims affected by the explosion.