The United Nations (UN) has expressed its condolences to Sierra Leone’s government and people following the explosion of a petroleum tanker in Freetown.
UNSecretary-General António Guterres joined the whole UN system in Sierra Leone in mourning the victims of a fuel tanker collision on Friday night in the capital.
Guterres, in a statement, said he was “deeply saddened by the extensive loss of lives”, resulting from the crash, when the tanker collided with a lorry at a busy junction in the suburb of Wellington, spilling fuel, before igniting.
The resulting blaze engulfed other vehicles and pedestrians nearby.
“The secretary-general extends his deep condolences to the people and Government of Sierra Leone and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.
“The United Nations is prepared to provide the necessary support in the aftermath of this tragic incident,’’ he said in a statement by his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.
The UN Office in Sierra Leone also issued a statement wishing “fortitude and peace to the bereaved families, and the Government and people of Sierra Leone, in this period of grief.”
“Furthermore, as partners in the country’s development aspirations,” the UN family in the West African nation said it was closely monitoring the situation.
The UN said it would work with the Government to overcome what the country’s Vice-President, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, reportedly described as a “national disaster”, after visiting the scene of the crash.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) tweeted on Saturday that it was “mobilizing specialized supplies”.
“We are working to deploy burnt-patient care experts. We will provide more support as needed, at this terrible time for the people of Sierra Leone.”
According to reports, at least 99 people were killed and more than 100 others injured in the disaster.