Sierra Leone: at least 98 dead in fuel depot explosion in Freetown

the essentials At least 92 people died this Friday, November 5 in the evening in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in the explosion of a tanker truck.

At least 98 people were killed in the explosion of a truck- tank Friday evening in the industrial zone of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, in West Africa, according to the report communicated Saturday by the vice-president of the country. Witnesses said the tanker exploded at a gas station after being hit by another heavy truck. The fire then spread to the surrounding neighborhood.

Contrary to what a rescuer had initially indicated to AFP, a fuel depot located near the accident did not explode, an AFP journalist noted.

The majority of the victims are street vendors and motorcyclists trapped by the flames as they tried to recover the fuel escaping from the tanker, told AFP a witness and volunteer rescuer, Jusu Jacka Yorma.

Le feu a embrsé une partie du quartier.
The fire has set in a part of the neighborhood. AFPTV

“We have received a report from the Connaught Mortuary and other hospitals in Freetown indicating that the death toll is 88 “, said Sierra Leonean Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who visited the scene of the tragedy on Saturday morning.

Besides, “88 severely burned people are in the intensive care unit of Connaught Hospital in Freetown, “he added, adding that all survivors would be taken free of charge. in charge.

A nurse from a hospital where victims were evacuated confirmed to AFP that he had received many women, men and children with “serious injuries”. Several charred bodies were discovered in still smoking car wrecks at the site of the explosion and in the adjacent streets.

Saturday morning, while the relief operations continued under the supervision of the police, many residents rushed to the scene of the tragedy in search of relatives, noted an AFP correspondent.

“Heartbreaking” images

In a message posted on Twitter on Saturday, President Julius Maada Bio said he was “deeply moved by the tragic fire and the horrific loss of life.”

“I would like to express my deep sympathy to the families who have lost loved ones and to those who have been mutilated,” he added, assuring that his government “will do everything to support the affected families”. For her part, the mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, said in a statement posted on Facebook “deeply saddened”. “The videos and photos circulating on social networks are heartbreaking,” added Aki-Sawyerr, who regretted not being able to go there because she was traveling abroad.

92 people died in the disaster. MAXPPP – MOHAMED KONNEH

Sierra Leone (7.5 million inhabitants), a former British colony, is one of the poorest countries on the planet despite a soil full of diamonds.

Its economy, plagued by corruption, was devastated by a civil war (646 – 2002) who did something 120. 000 dead. It also remains fragile after the Ebola epidemic which devastated it in 2002 – 2016, the fall in world commodity prices and the appearance of the coronavirus last year

Accidents of this kind are common in Africa. In July in Kenya, 000 people were killed and others badly burned when a “huge fireball” engulfed people siphoning fuel from an overturned gasoline truck that caught fire.

In 2016, around 100 people were killed in a similar tragedy when a tanker truck exploded in Tanzania, and in addition to 200 people perished in another similar accident in South Sudan.

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