Residents search for missing in aftermath of Ghana blast

AP News
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Posted: Jun 08, 2015 12:05 PM
Residents search for missing in aftermath of Ghana blast

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — At least 200 people died in the explosion at a gas station last week in Ghana, the emergency services department announced 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 as well as many in the surrounding neighborhood. The disaster spotlighted shortcomings in the capital's infrastructure.

Three days of mourning were declared starting Monday and in two days a memorial service will be held for the victims.

But for many residents searching through the hospitals and morgues of the city, they weren't even sure if 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," said Philip Dogbe.

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 l have yet to visit, being treated with burns. I am hoping he will come home," said Richard Allotey.

One man waited outside a hospital, crying, as he related the last words he heard from his fiancée that he had been set to marry in October.

"I still remember her last words, 'love you,'" said Kwadwo Nimo.

The crisis has intensified criticism of the government's failure to improve the country's infrastructure. Though the downpours this week have been especially bad, heavy rains in June are not unusual — yet drainage systems in Accra remain inadequate.

The city is also grappling with an energy crisis resulting in blackouts lasting as long as 48 hours, sparking large-scale demonstrations.

Schools, which were closed due to the flooding on Thursday, are set to reopen, said the education department, whose decision was contingent on the weather forecast.