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Atomic Gas explosion: Akufo-Addo calls for support to make new safety policies work

As investigations into the cause of Saturday’s huge explosion at Atomic Junction in Accra begins, the President has called for stakeholder support to make new safety policies succeed.

A crunch meeting of the relevant government agencies is expected on Thursday, October 12, 2017, to plan the way forward and to prevent a recurrence of the disaster that has claimed at least seven lives and injured scores.

Speaking during his tour in the Northern Region on Sunday, President Nana Akufo-Addo said whatever policies and rules would be introduced will not be effective unless there is support from every member of the public.

I would like everybody involved in the industry to recognize that we all have to make adjustments to be able to guarantee the safety and the security of our people so that these things do not happen again. I need the support and cooperation of the people of Ghana to make the policies that we will be bringing up succeed so that such incidents become a thing of the past and not of the future,” President Akufo-Addo said.

An explosion and fire erupted at 7 pm at a gas filling station, Mansco Gas Filling Station, on Saturday and caught an adjacent petrol filling station, triggering another loud explosion that set ablaze many vehicles at a nearby taxi and commercial buses hub.

Hundreds of residents fled as the explosion from the gas filling station sent a flaming mushroom cloud into the night sky.

One too many

Saturday’s fatal fire incident is the eighth in three years.

Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia said a strong policy on the siting of fuel stations is long overdue.

Speaking to the press at the site of the explosion on Sunday, the Vice President revealed that a crunch meeting of government officials resolved to expedite the formulation of a robust regulation.

There has been a long-standing debate about the establishment of fuel stations close to residential areas, however, a lack of political will has meant that the issue comes up only when there is a disaster.

“This is one too many. This is about the eighth explosion that has happened in three years, and I think what Ghanaians really want is solid policies to deal with this once and for all. We are going to move to deal with it.

“It is not about committees upon committees and nothing gets done. I think that we owe it to the country and the government is going to take this very seriously,” he assured.

He said the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Ministry, the Fire Service will be involved in the formulation of the new policy.

“We are going to move quite quickly to do it. It is not going to be one that you will wait weeks for it to happen. It is going to happen relatively quickly,” he said.

The Presidency has confirmed that as at 11:30 am Sunday, at least seven people have been confirmed dead and 132 injured from Saturday night gas explosion at Atomic Junction near Madina.

A statement signed by the Information Minister added that out of those injured, 64 persons have been discharged from the hospitals with 68 others receiving treatment.

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