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Atomic Gas Explosion 7 DEAD, 132 INJURED - Prez wants end to such disasters

General News

At least seven persons have been confirmed dead and one hundred and thirty-two injured  in a gas explosion on Saturday at Atomic Junction in Accra.

At least seven persons have been confirmed dead and one hundred and thirty-two injured  in a gas explosion on Saturday at Atomic Junction in Accra.

The gas station at Atomic Junction went up in flames on Saturday evening  with more than 20 vehicles also reported to have been razed down by the explosion.

A leakage of gas from one of two gas fuel stations in the enclave around the Atomic Junction reportedly triggered the fire, which extended to an adjoining Total Filling Station causing two explosions that sent fireballs into the skies.

The Ministry of Information, in a statement issued yesterday, said investigations had commenced into the cause of the explosion  which would followed with a firm action to forestall  future similar recurrences.

Ghana has since 2014 recorded at least eight major gas explosion cases across the country.

In all the eight cases, six were recorded in the Greater Accra Region, one in Takoradi in the Western Region, and one at Kasoa in the Central Region.

Two of the cases were recorded in 2014, two in 2015, one in 2016 and three in 2017.

Reports indicate that 35% of the over 300 burn cases recorded at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital this year [2017] were from gas explosions.

Following yesterday’s incident, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, in separate statements, say the country cannot afford anymore gas explosions.

According to President Nana Akufo-Addo, “It is time these incidents came to a stop in Ghana. We cannot continue with them.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo said this yesterday as he rounded off his tour of the Northern Region.

“I have asked the Vice President to go back to Accra to see with his own eyes, and that of the Minister for Interior, what has taken place. We are going to have to come out with a clear policy on how to prevent such incidents in the future,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said this when  he worshipped with congregants at the Tishigu Anglican Church, in Tamale.

President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that “Cabinet will be meeting on Thursday, [October 12, 2017] and, I believe, out of that meeting, the country will know what our programme is, the comprehensive programme we intend to have to bring such incidents to a stop.”

The President stressed that the gas explosion at Atomic Junction “is one too many. We cannot afford anymore.”

He, thus, appealed to “everybody involved in the industry to recognize that we all have to make adjustments to be able to guarantee the safety and security of our people, so these things do not happen again.

“I need your support, and the co-operation of the people of Ghana to make sure that the policies that we will be bringing out succeed, so that such incidents become a thing of the past and not of our future.”

The President urged the Priests and congregation of the Tishigu Anglican Church “to pray for all those who were caught up in the tragedy in Accra yesterday – the dead and the injured people. We pray for their souls, and we pray for their families, that the Almighty will give them comfort and strength in these trying times.”

Again, to the congregation, President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that “I needed your prayers to get there, and I need even more your prayers to stay there and do a good job for all of us.”

For his part, Vice President Bawumia, who visited the explosion site yesterday morning, disclosed that the government would soon roll out policies in respect of how most petrol and gas stations are sited in the country and that “those who will resist those new policies would not be listened to because it is important to put the safety of our people above anything else.”

According to Dr Bawumia, the implementation of the new policies was in the interest of the country.

Describing the event as very tragic and a sad day for Ghana, the Vice President said such unfortunate incidents were one too many.

“In fact all of Ghana has been affected. It’s a major tragedy but at the end of the day this is one too many. This is about the 8th explosion of gas in three years and I think what Ghanaians really want is solid policy to deal with this matter once and for all.

We are going to move to deal with it and it’s not about committees upon committees and nothing gets done. I think that we owe it as a country and the government is going to take this very seriously,” the veep said.

According to him, institutions like the National Petroleum Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Ministry and Fire Service would all be involved in putting the policies together.

“We are going to move quite quickly to do it. It is not going to be one that you wait weeks for it to happen. It is going to happen relatively quickly,” he said.

On behalf of the President, Dr Bawumia thanked the Fire Service, NADMO and Police for responding to the issue on time, stressing, “So we really like on behalf of the whole country to thank them most sincerely for their efforts as you can see,” he said.

“On behalf of the president I will like to extend my condolences to all the bereaved families and our sympathies to all those who have been injured.

The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of Education, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Interior Minister, Defence Minister and the Inspector General of Police.