A large explosion at a gas station in the Ghana capital of Accra killed at least 96 people seeking refuge from torrential rain late on Wednesday as ongoing torrential rains continue to hamper rescue and recovery missions.
Officials fear the death toll may continue to rise as search efforts continue on slowly with flooding remaining an issue.
Prince Billy Anaglate told JoyFM radio that the blast resulted from a fire that broke out at a neighbouring truck stop which then spread to the facility and other neighbouring buildings, adding that preliminary investigations showed that the fire started by accident.
Accra’s mayor, Oko Vanderpuije, told reporters that firefighters fought the blaze into the early hours of Thursday as police and rescue crews worked to free people trapped within the wreckage.
The blast came amidst flooding caused by the torrential showers, with rescue crew also working to save those trapped in buildings and vehicles due to the flooding.
Ghanaian President John Mahama visited the scene of the explosion, appealing for calm from the country’s people.
"The loss of life is catastrophic and almost unprecedented. We will have to take some measures to avoid this from happening in the future," he said.
Hundreds remain trapped by flood waters across the city.