Sierra Leone Telegraph: 06 November 2021:
Dozens of people were killed last night in Wellington – the far east of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, when a fuel tanker exploded – burning houses, vehicles and those trying to scoop fuel from the tanker before it exploded.
Hundreds of people are believed to have suffered life threatening injuries from the explosion. Many people are said to have been trapped in their cars and poda-podas, unable to escape when the tanker exploded.
It is not clear what caused the explosion, but some reports say that the tanker was involved in a collision with another vehicle, which prompted nearby residents to come out with rubber containers and jerry cans to collect fuel from the tanker before it exploded.
Most of the injured were taken to the 34 Military hospital and the Connaught hospital for emergency treatment. Private hospitals in and around the capital are said to be helping in receiving people badly burnt from the explosion.
Vice President Juldeh last night visited some of the hospitals where he saw doctors and nurses doing their best under very difficult conditions – with little resources and equipment to provide care for the injured.
Although officers of the country’s National Disaster Management Agency arrived at the scene along with the police, there was no sign of fire engines, prompting the usual condemnation of the fire service which many say is unfit for purpose.
Speaking to the media, Vice President Juldeh Jalloh who is acting on behalf of President Bio who is currently out of the country, said that he had counted over 70 people taken to both Connaught and 34 Military hospitals in Freetown.
He also visited the mortuary at Connaught hospital where he saw the dead being prepared for identification.
Today as the people of Sierra Leone mourn the death of their fellow citizens, questions are being asked as to why people would ignore the huge risk to their lives, trying to scoop fuel from a tanker that has been involved in an accident and likely to explode. Is it abject poverty, illiteracy, or lawlessness?
Speaking about the disaster this is what Dr Kandeh Yumkella who will be making a full statement about this tragic incident at a London townwhall meeting tonight, said: