A year ago on June 3, 2015, Ghana woke up to one of its worst natural disasters. A day described as the ‘saddest’ in its history.
What started the night before as a heavy downpour at the center of the country’s capital, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, was aggravated after a nearby fuel station exploded in the downpour, leaving an estimated 154 Ghanaians lifeless whiles scores also sustained varying degrees of burns and injuries.
People had gathered at the state-owned Goil fuel station to shelter from the heavy rains when the station exploded killing motorists, workers on duty at the station and the many passers by who were hoping to go home after the rains.
Five houses including the Goil Filling Station suffered various degrees of damage as a result of the fire. The properties are valued at 1,658,847 (over $428,000).
A year on, the government led by John Dramani Mahama and his vice president would attend a memorial service to honour the victims of the ‘flood and fire’ disaster.
Whiles the rain was seen as a natural occurrence, the fire which worsened the situation was later said to have been caused by a a cigarette smoker who dropped a lighted stub into water that had oil floating on top of it, myjoyonline.com reported in August last year.
“…Whether he was aware there was fuel on top of the flood waters or not is not clear to us so we have asked the security agencies to investigate properly and come to a conclusion on that matter,” Chairman of the committee set up by the president, Mr Justice Isaac Delali Douse, said at press conference to announce the findings.
“Five houses including the Goil Filling Station suffered various degrees of damage as a result of the fire. The properties are valued at 1,658,847 (over $428,000).’‘ the report said.
The memorial service will be held at the Rev. Ernest Bruce Memorial Methodist Church at Adabraka in Accra, a few meters away from the site of the accident. Most Ghanaians have complained that the site, a year on, has yet to be cleared.
The mayor of the city however has insisted that the city is better prepared in case a similar disaster struck. He also asked families of victims who died in the incident and those who survived to participate in the service.
“Friday will be the first anniversary of the incident of June 3 and so the city in collaboration with other agencies have planned a memorial service and so we want to invite everybody especially the families of the deceased and the victims to come because this is in their honour…we want everybody to come and participate.”
Photo credit: Mohammed Awudu @mohawudu