Ghana: Explosion at gas filling station dominates Ghana media

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – Last Saturday night’s explosion at a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) filling station in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, that has claimed seven lives, injured scores of people, destroyed vehicles and other property and triggered directives by the government to forestall future accidents dominated the Ghanaian media this week.

“7 dead in Atomic Junction gas explosion....scores injured,” was the headline of Graphiconline, which reported that at least seven people have been confirmed dead with at least 137 injured in the Madina Atomic Junction gas explosion. It said four of the injured persons were in life-threatening conditions at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

The explosion at the gas refill station at about 7.30 pm (GMT) started a fire that engulfed a nearby fuel station leading to more explosions and a huge fire that destroyed several properties. More than 20 vehicles were burned by the fire.

The state-owned Graphic newspaper in another story under the headline, “In the wake of Atomic Junction gas explosion...Time for talk is over – President declares” quoted President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as reiterating the government’s resolve to bring decency and guarantee the safety and security of people in the fuel and gas distribution chain.

The President, who visited the site of the explosion, said the government would come out with the necessary measures to contain gas and fuel explosions.

Describing the incident as regrettable and most unfortunate, President Akufo-Addo said, ”The time for talking is over and that the time for action is now.”

The President expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wished those who sustained various degrees of injury speedy recovery.

The newspaper said Ghana had recorded eight major explosions at gas and fuel stations in the past three years.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times in an editorial with the headline, “Let's find solutions to gas explosions now” said although accidents were bound to happen, it could not accept the negligence that was exhibited to allow innocent people to die or be injured in preventable cases.

It recalled that when gas explosions occurred recently in Accra and Takoradi in the Western Region, stakeholders, including government officials, vowed that never again would they allow such disaster to occur.

“What do we see now? We are witnessing worse of what had already occurred. Although the fatalities appear to be low, the extent of damage and property destroyed as well as injuries sustained cannot be compared to previous explosions,” the newspaper said.

“The lip service is enough. The government, as well as all relevant agencies have to take tough measures to prevent gas explosions in the future.”

The Ghanaian Times said it was certain that, had the appropriate actions been taken and safety standards enforced, the impact of such disasters could have been minimal, adding that Saturday night’s gas explosion represented another national disaster and a failure of a nation to protect its citizens.

“This is another blot on the conscience of the nation which must be avoided at all cost.”

Meanwhile, Joyfmonline, the website of an Accra-based radio station, reported on Friday under the headline, “Gov’t rolls out regulatory measures: High-risk gas stations to be closed” that President Akufo-Addo had ordered the implementation of interim safety measures for all LPG infrastructure across the country.

It said the safety measures were introduced after a cabinet meeting on Thursday following the multiple explosions and fire at an LPG installation in Accra.

As part of the new safety regulations, a task force would be deployed within 30 days to assess the risk that all LPG infrastructure nationwide posed in terms of public health and safety.

“High-risk stations will be immediately closed down, in accordance with relevant law and without regard to any political or special interests. Low-risk stations will be designated for the supply of gas for vehicles with improved safety standards,” it quoted an official statement from the Presidency as saying.

Also, there will be a review of the current licensing regime to ensure that only those infrastructure with demonstrable capacity and competence would engage in the LPG distribution business.

The statement announcing the new regulations also states that the President, acting on the advice of cabinet directed that “henceforth the Cylinder Recirculation Model of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution be implemented.

This model means that LPG bottling plants will be sited away from congested commercial and population centres and will procure, brand, maintain and fill empty cylinders to be distributed to consumers and households through retail outlets.

Low-risk stations will be designated for the supply of gas to vehicles. This whole exercise must be completed within one year.
-0- PANA MA 14Oct2017

14 october 2017 06:43:50

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