FREETOWN, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The death toll from a fuel tanker explosion in Sierra Leone’s capital has risen to 115, a health ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

The ministry had previously said 99 people were killed when the tanker exploded following a collision in a suburb of Freetown on Friday. Victims included people who had flocked to collect fuel leaking from the ruptured vehicle. read more

Hundreds more were injured in the blast, stretching the capacity of Freetown’s health service, which has suffered from years of underfunding and a fall in medical staff during the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic.

Blackened shells of cars still lay at the scene of the accident, and members of a family whose business and house burnt down said they had been sleeping outside.

Coffins containing the remains of victims of the fuel tanker explosion are pictured during a burial ceremony at a cemetery in Freetown, Sierra Leone November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ibrahim S Miles Kamara

“Since the incident we have not received any personal help yet, (a) place to sleep, food to eat, nothing like that yet,” said Mohamed Lamin Mansaray, the owner of Wellington bar and beverage shop.

Mansaray said he had told people to run away from his bar just before the tanker exploded, but one staff member was killed.

Similar accidents with tanker trucks have killed scores of people in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, including in Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo when people gathered to collect spilled fuel and were hit by secondary blasts.

A funeral for victims of the explosion was due to be held on Friday afternoon in Freetown.

Reporting by Umaru Fofana and Ibrahim Miles Kamara, Writing by Alessandra Prentice and Nellie Peyton, Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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