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Friday, June 5, 2015, 10:20

More than 200 die in Ghana fuel pump blast

By Agencies
More than 200 die in Ghana fuel pump blast
Firefighters spray water over the smoldering remains at a gas station following an explosion in Accra, Ghana , June 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian Thompson)

ACCRA - The death toll in the petrol station explosion and flood Thursday in Ghana's capital Accra has risen to over 200, according to figures from the interior ministry.

The inferno followed hours of heavy downpour in Accra that led to power outages in several communities.

Most of the dead bodies had been deposited at the 37 military hospital where 35 survivors are undergoing treatment.

It is still not clear what triggered the fire at the gas station operated by Ghana's state oil company GOIL.

Eyewitnesses told Xinhua that the blast was a result of petrol spillage on the surface of the flooding water, which sparked fire from a nearby trading center.

Many victims were taking shelter at the station from days of heavy downpours that have triggered widespread flooding and paralyzed 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.

On Thursday morning, President John Dramani Mahama expressed his condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives in the fire, describing the number of deaths reported in the fire and floods as catastrophic and almost unprecedented.

Interior Minister Mark Woyongo has called Thursday's incident a national disaster.

A national emergency security meeting is underway since Thursday afternoon, to strategise to prevent such disasters in future.

Authorities of the 37 military hospital where a large number of the bodies were sent have asked families to identify the vistims.

Meanwhile, the Christian Council of Ghana is calling on its member churches to mobilize the youth in their churches to donate blood to the hospitals handling the fire and flood patients.

The call follows an appeal by the health minister for well-meaning Ghanaians to donate blood to victims of the two-day heavy rains.

President Mahama has convened an emergency meeting at the Flagstaff House over the fire and rain disasters that have afflicted the nation.

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