A deluge and an explosion at the Goil Fuel Station near the GCB Bank Limited Towers at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra claimed the lives of a number of people.
The victims included commuters who had taken refuge at the fuel station and passengers in some commercial vehicles that had parked to refuel or waiting for the rains to subside.
The disaster, believed to be one of the worst to hit the country, is said to have claimed the lives of more than 150 people, including a woman and her toddler.
To back their call with action, the members including the Speaker visited some of the affected areas and the scene of the explosion.
Before the visit, the Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, asked the House to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the victims after a statement by the Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, at its sitting yesterday.
In his statement, Mr Muntaka, who is also the MP for Asawase, expressed the condolences of the House to the bereaved families and described the incident as one of the most horrific and the highest death toll in the country’s history if the figure confirmed.
Alhaji Mubarak called on the members to handle the incident dispassionately without any political colouration and come up with an antidote to the recurrence and abatement of the impact of such disasters.
He expressed worry about the attitude of the people, especially towards proper planning and waste disposal, which had contributed immensely to worsen flooding and other avoidable disasters in the country.
He also asked the people to see the incident as a wake-up call to review their attitude towards health and safety which have been the country’s major challenges.
The Majority Chief Whip cited Trinidad and Tobago as one of the countries which had inculcated in their citizenry the essence of safety and advised Ghanaians to emulate the example.
The First Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo and MP for Tema West, stressed the need for unity to address such challenges holistically.
She said apart from sensitising people to the need for safety measures for the prevention of such disasters, it was time for the country’s planners, engineers and road contractors to ensure that their work did not compromise the safety of the people.
The Chairman of the Committee of Defence and the Interior and MP for Ablekuma South, Mr Fritz Baffour, recounted a similar experience in 1995 during which 25 lives were lost and said ‘’we should not allow impunity to rule this country”.
He commended the security agencies and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) for the manner they handled the situation and said the House had the responsibility to stop the people from inflicting avoidable disasters on themselves.
The Minority Leader and MP for Suame, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said since the challenge had been an annual occurrence, it should be treated as a national emergency to prevent or abate its effects.
He said it was time people entrusted with the execution and management of certain vital functions were held accountable to save the people from avoidable and preventable disasters.