The death toll in the capital, Freetown, has risen to 98 Sierra LeoneEmergency services confirmed to Efe today after a tanker truck carrying fuel exploded in a collision with another truck last night.
“As a disaster management agency, we are currently on the ground and have created an incident command center to help coordinate incident management.”Mohamed Lamran Bah, communications director for the Sierra Leone Disaster Management Agency, said the death toll could rise due to the critical condition of some of the injured.
Bah pointed out that the injured had been evacuated to various hospitals in the capital and that there were social workers and experts to help the victims.
According to the local media The Sierra Leone Telegraph, some residents near the site of the blast – destroying homes and other vehicles – fled their homes after vehicles collided with buckets and drums to collect spilled fuel.
It is common practice in some African countries that the death toll from truck explosions has risen, with the death of thirteen people approaching a tanker in an accident to extract fuel from a vehicle in Kenya last July. And then exploded.
Mohamed Kamara, a witness to the crash, explained to Efe that it happened at around 8:00 pm (GMT) when the tanker wanted to refuel a service station.
“Suddenly a trailer collided with a tanker and it exploded”, Kamara explained, “That’s when people started coming to get fuel.”
“As they wanted to get fuel, the tanker driver told them to get out. The driver ran for his life; all the motorcyclists near the spot died.Added.
Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawierr said he was “deeply saddened” to hear the news on his Facebook account this morning and expressed his condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.
“Videos and photos circulating on social media are shocking”, He pointed out that he could not be there in person, but the police and the deputy mayor were in support of the National Agency for Disaster Management at the scene.
For his part, the president of Sierra Leone, Julius Mata Bio, today announced that he was in “deep shock” and sent his condolences to those who lost their loved ones, “promising that his government will do everything possible to support the families of the victims.”