At least 99 people have been confirmed dead with more than 100 seriously injured after a fuel tanker exploded following a collision in the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, Deputy Health Minister Amara Jambai said.
The explosion took place late on Friday after a vehicle struck the tanker in Wellington, a suburb just to the east of Freetown.
Jambai added that the “injured casualties are being treated in hospitals and clinics across the capital.
Most of the victims included people who had flocked to collect fuel leaking from the ruptured vehicle, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of the port city, said in a post on Facebook, adding that several badly burned victims lay on the streets as flames blazed through shops and houses nearby.
“The video and photo footage making rounds on social media are harrowing,” Aki-Sawyerr said.
The extent of damage to property was as yet unknown, the mayor said, adding that police and her deputy were at the scene to assist disaster management officials.
“We’ve got so many casualties, burned corpses,” said Brima Bureh Sesay, head of the National Disaster Management Agency, in a video from the scene shared online. “It’s a terrible, terrible accident.”
Speaking on the disaster, President Julius Maada Bio, who was in Scotland attending the United Nations climate talks at the time, wrote on Twitter expressing his sadness at the “horrendous loss of life”.
“My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result. My Government will do everything to support affected families,” he wrote.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: 4 yrs after completion, Kwara PHC facility inactive, rural dwellers in pains
In the middle of the night sometime in September 2019, Fatimah Ballah struggled with severe pains as she tries to...
INVESTIGATION: How Oyo State, contractors spent N1.1bn on water projects, but communities don’t have a drop
Multimillion naira water projects largely initiated by the late Abiola Ajimobi-led state government in Oyo State to benefit over 40...
INVESTIGATION: In Cross River, civil servants retire into poverty as govt looks away, squanders funds on frivolities
Thousands of civil servants in Cross River State struggle to stay alive as they are denied their gratuities and monthly...
Students suffer as contractors abandon Kano school projects after receiving over N70m
In 2019, to improve the condition of public schools in Kano State, the Federal Government disbursed millions of naira to...
SPECIAL REPORT: World Bank road projects go bad in Enugu, as state govt fails to fulfill promise
Counterpart funded road projects between the world Bank and Enugu State government have started to fail, as the state government...