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At Least 150 People Dead In Ghana Gas Station Explosion

Commuters had reportedly been taking shelter at the gas station in the capital, Accra, following heavy floods in the area Wednesday night.

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At least 150 people have died following an explosion at a gas station in the capital city Accra, President John Dramani Mahama told the Associated Press.

Reuters Staff / Reuters

President Mahama also declared three days of nationwide mourning for the explosion victims, and has pledged to allocate $12 million to reconstruct damaged facilities, according to the AP.

Ghana's government has faced criticism before for its lack of attention paid to the country's infrastructure, and it is unclear which entity should be held accountable.

Accra Mayor Alfred Oko Vanderpuije told BBC his office is planning for a "massive construction of a drainage system," but has been waiting on approval from the Ministry of Finance.

President John Dramani Mahama spoke from the site of the explosion on Thursday and offered his condolences to those whose loved ones were killed.

"Steps will be taken to ensure that disastrous floods and their attendant deaths do not occur again," he said, according to the Associated Press.

Ghana Fire Service spokesperson Billy Anaglate said firefighters continued to recover bodies early Thursday morning.

He added that rainwater from floods "led the diesel and petrol to flow away from the gas station and a fire from a nearby house led to the explosion."

The blast tore through the Ghana Oil Company-operated gas station, which was partly reduced to rubble with shattered windows and walls Wednesday night, Reuters said.

Scores of people who took refuge at this fuel station in Accra, #Ghana during a heavy downpour, Wednesday died.

A Reuters reporter reported seeing charred corpses and burned-out minibuses in the station's forecourt on Thursday morning, as an anxious crowd was kept behind a barricade by security officials.

Rescuers entered the wreckage wearing gloves and face masks throughout the morning to retrieve bodies.

"It was an explosive fire and so the people sheltering at the filling station did not have an opportunity to escape," Anaglate told Reuters.

The Accra area has been suffering from severe flooding caused by torrential rain, and it's believed that dozens of people were in the gas station seeking shelter at the time of the blast, according to Al Jazeera.

@EWalter789: Gas station, adjacent GCB on fire. Circle #AccraFloods #rain #Ghana

Anaglate said that around a dozen injured people had been taken to the hospital following the explosion, Al Jazeera reported.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.

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