Pupils sent home; shops closed; 100s die in Ghana historic floods - News Hunter Magazine

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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Pupils sent home; shops closed; 100s die in Ghana historic floods

Today is a holiday. But there is no merry-making or beach-going. There
is plenty of tears. As plenty as the floods that caused them. It is
holiday forced on a wretched nation by extraordinary circumstances –
devastating floods.Pupils were asked to stay home; those who ventured
to school were sent back; workers were asked to stay home too; shops
have closed and many are in hopeless search for answers.

Hours of torrential rain Wednesday exposed a spectacularly poorly
planned city, wreaking havoc on businesses and property and more
tragically, consuming precious lives.

The rains and their concomitant floods announced their presence on
Tuesday but city authorities andresidents either failed to take notice
or were complacent.But the rains returned Wednesday,this time with
vengeance, bringing with them water, fire and death.

The centre of the disaster was the Goil filling adjacent the GCB Bank
at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

It is believed that the underground tankers at the station leaked as a
result of the massive floods that ravaged not only the Circle area,
but vast spans of the city.

Residents around the area said they could smell fuel all around them
and some moved out of their homes to higher grounds.It transpired that
the first layer of the sea of brown water that engulfed the immediate
vicinity ofthe fuel station was fuel waiting for a spark and the spark
came 300 meters away.

A resident of a house 300 meters away told Joy FM's Super Morning Show
host, Kojo Yankson, someonethrew a lit cigarette into the floodsand it
instantly sparked the fire.

In a matter of seconds, the fire had traced its way to the filling
state, the fuel spread on the flood waters providing the means for
this.

A loud explosion with disastrous consequences occurred trapping many
in buses, private vehicles, homes and shops.

Passengers in commercial vehicleswaiting to be taken to their
destinations, other commuters seeking refuge in shops were all burnt.

The fuel station became a scene ofcharred bodies, skeleton vehicles
and a mixture of blood, mud and debris.

Many of the victims were seeking refuge at the fuel station after
floods resulting from hours of rain submerged large parts of the
capital.

In many parts of the city, dead bodies are being pulled out of drains,
commercial and private vehicles swept away by floods, street corners,
ramshackle shops, and homes.

The 37 Military Hospital is overwhelmed by dead bodies conveyed there
in Kia Trucks.

Authorities there say they can no longer receive any more bodies.

More than 80 bodies were countedas of 11am this morning and
morevictims were being brought in.

Families have been asked to come to the hospital at 3pm today to
identify their relatives.

Whilst families grieve for their loss of relatives and shop owners
count their own losses, politicians are scrambling to show their
concern.

First to arrive at the major centres of the disaster was President
John Mahama who said practical steps must and will be taken to ensure
that Wednesday's disastrous floods and their attendant deaths do not
occur again.

The practice of building in watercourses, he said, was largely to
blame for the flooding in Accra and must be checked.

The president visited the ravaged Kwame Nkrumah Circle and stopped at
the Goil filling station which has been reduced to ashes.

There were charred bodies, burnt vehicles, blood mixed with fuel
residue in a chaotic scene.

He was there with the Mayor of Accra and the Member of Parliament for
Klottey Korle, Nii Armah Ashittey.

"A lot of people have lost their lives, many of them through the
floods and very many of them through the fire at the filling station,"
the President said.

"We have to take some measures to deal with this but a lot of times
when the steps are drastic, you have people expressing sympathy," he
stated

"We must sit down and strategise to make sure this doesn't happen
again," President Mahama.

Later and Interior Minister Mark Woyongo joined Accra Mayor Alfred
Vanderpuije to tour some of the devastated areas.

An image of the Mayor and Interior Minister being provided shelter by
umbrella-wielding young men has generated a storm of condemnation on
social media.

Opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, also went to the fire scene
describing the disaster as a "dark moment in the nation's history."

The Progressive People's Party (PPP) issued a statement blaming city
authorities for the disaster.

The flood waters have now receded but the scale of the devastation
they caused is all too visible.



Credit: Myjoyonline.com

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