President Bio: Sierra Leone ‘must learn’ from tanker blast

AFP

2 min read
People look after family members outside the Connaught Government Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone on November 6, 2021, the day following a massive explosion.
Saidu Bah/AFPPeople look after family members outside the Connaught Government Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone on November 6, 2021, the day following a massive explosion.

Sierra Leone's health minister said there are not enough medical supplies to treat victims

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio said on Sunday the West African country "must learn" from the deaths of over 100 people killed in a fuel tanker explosion in the capital Freetown.

"We are going to concentrate on helping those who are critically injured right now," Bio said after returning from Britain, where he attended the COP26 climate conference.

Reiterating the government's promise of free treatment for the injured, the president added that the country "must learn from this unfortunate incident.”

"Let us come together and learn from this, let us say never again it will happen," he said.

The blast occurred when a fuel tanker collided with another truck at a gas station on Friday night, according to witnesses.

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The flames then spread, burning people in cars and on roads nearby.

The majority of the victims were street vendors and motorcyclists, many of whom were caught in the blaze while trying to retrieve fuel leaking from the tanker before it ignited, an eyewitness reported.

The National Disaster Management Agency on Sunday said the death toll had risen to 101 with 91 more in hospital after the explosion in an industrial area of Freetown.

Health Minister Austin Demby warned that "at the moment we don't have enough medical supplies" to treat all the victims.

But he added that after contacting the World Health Organization, the government was "very hopeful for a huge medical consignment to reach Sierra Leone in the next 24 hours."