At least 200 people died in an explosion at a gas station last week in Ghana, the National Disaster Management Organization reported, as many people were still searching for missing relatives on Monday.
Flooding from torrential rains caused the fuel depot at a gas station to catch fire, killing those who had taken shelter there on Wednesday last week, as well as many in the surrounding neighborhood. The disaster spotlighted shortcomings in the capital’s infrastructure.
Three days of mourning were declared starting on Monday, while a memorial service is to be held for the victims this week.
However, many residents searching through the hospitals and morgues of the city were not even sure whether their missing relatives were dead or just being treated.
“I have been to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and found nothing that looked like my cousin. I have followed up to the 37 Military Hospital and Police Hospital only to be disappointed,” Philip Dogbe said.
Others hoped against all odds that even five days later, their missing loved ones would turn up in a hospital ward or just come wandering back home.
“I am only hoping that my brother is in one of the hospitals that I have yet to visit, being treated with burns. I am hoping he will come home,” Richard Allotey said.
One man waited outside a hospital, crying, as he related the last words he heard from his fiancee that he had been set to marry in October.
“I still remember her last words: ‘Love you,’” Kwadwo Nimo said.
The crisis has intensified criticism of the Ghanaian government’s failure to improve national infrastructure.
While the downpours over the past week have been especially bad, heavy rains at this time of year are not unusual, but drainage systems in Accra remain inadequate.
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