Petrol Station in Ghana – level 3
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 that was rising up and because it is a filling station, there was a lots of fuel particles around that got contaminated in the water. The fuel was not mixable with the water, it would definitely float. So it was floating on the surface of the water but it was rain water, so it was able to run from the filling station to 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 very at a loss of words to express how I feel. 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 the flooding damaged electricity sub stations, making ongoing energy shortages even worse. With forecasters predicting even more rain, it’s a worrying situation for a country already on its knees.
Difficult words: take refuge (to find a safe place), forecourt (an area in front of a petrol station), bout (a short period of something), torrential rain (heavy rain), blast (an explosion), naked (open), initial (first), hamper (to make difficult).
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