Anger in Ghana after 7 die in gas station blasts

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In this Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, photo, the scene of an explosion is seen in Accra, Ghana. A tanker explosion at a gas-filling station in Ghana late Saturday, followed by a secondary blast, has left a number of casualties in the Legon suburb in northwest Accra, authorities said. (AP)
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This Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, photo, shows a charred vehicle after an explosion in Accra, Ghana. A tanker explosion at a gas-filling station in Ghana late Saturday, followed by a secondary blast, has left a number of casualties in the Legon suburb in northwest Accra, authorities said. (AP)
Updated 08 October 2017
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Anger in Ghana after 7 die in gas station blasts

ACCRA: Ghanaians on Sunday pushed the government to improve safety at fuel stations after seven people were killed when a tanker truck carrying natural gas caught fire in the nation’s capital, triggering explosions.
The fire and blasts gutted a liquefied gas filling station and a nearby petrol station in the Atomic Junction area of the Legon suburb of Accra on Saturday night, sending local residents fleeing.
President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted: “The news of last night’s gas explosion at Atomic Junc, resulting in the loss of 4 lives & injuries to several others, has left me devastated... My deepest condolences to the families of the bereaved, and I wish the injured speedy recovery.”
Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia was visiting the scene of the tragedy on Sunday, Akufo-Addo said, adding: “Government is resolved, now more than ever, to ensure such an incident does not occur again.”
Ghana National Fire Service spokesman Billy Anaglate said earlier that two of the victims died at the scene of the incident and the third in hospital. There were also 35 injured and five were in intensive care overnight.
"As we speak, six people are dead due to this fire," Anaglatey said Sunday and added the cause of the explosions is being investigated.
One of those who died was killed after jumping from a flyover at the busy Atomic Junction roundabout, where there are three fuel stations, transport services and restaurants.
It is also near a high school and the University of Ghana campus.
The country’s Deputy Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the government deployed about 12 fire trucks and 200 police personnel to cordon off the scene and manage traffic.
“A lot of people quickly rushed away, which is what saved a lot of lives but also caused a lot of panic,” he told AFP.
Fire crews were still at the scene on Sunday morning, damping down the stricken tanker with water. A number of cars and a minibus near the site were burned out.
Ghana’s capital was the scene of a similar fire and explosion at a petrol station in June 2015 which killed more than 150.
In May this year, scores of people were injured when a tanker discharging natural gas exploded in the western city of Takoradi.
The latest incident sparked outrage among some Ghanaians on social media about the safety of filling stations, many of which are located near schools, hospitals and businesses.
A petition was created addressed to Akufo-Addo, demanding better regulation and inspection of existing and proposed facilities. Nearly 1,500 people had signed it by late morning on Sunday.
Proposals include siting filling stations at least 50 meters from homes and 100 meters from schools and hospitals.
Abena Awuku, a Ghanaian living in the Netherlands, proposed the measures on the change.org site, saying fuel stations were “all disasters waiting to happen and the time to act is now.”
“There was a similar incident two years ago and we were fed lies and empty promises about regulations going to be put in place but then we had to witness this,” she told AFP later.
“These deaths could have easily been prevented, so let’s prevent them from ever occurring again in the future.”
Nkrumah said regulations already existed about the siting of fuel stations but the initial focus of the authorities was taking care of those injured in the incident.
“There’s an investigation that’s starting. It will determine whether it’s a failure of regulations, it’s an accident or something else,” he added.


Japan orders quake shock absorber maker to replace parts after fake data

Updated 9 min 57 sec ago
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Japan orders quake shock absorber maker to replace parts after fake data

TOKYO: Officials in Japan, one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, on Thursday ordered a company that falsified data on the quality of its quake shock absorbers to replace its products in hundreds of buildings.
KYB Corp, a major producer of the devices used to reduce shaking in a quake, said on Tuesday that data related to their quality and that of products made by a subsidiary, had been falsified since 2003, and possibly even as far back as 2000.
Government officials said there was no risk that buildings would collapse as a result, even in a severe quake, but they were trying to determine how many structures were affected.
The company said at least 900 buildings around Japan had used products that could be involved in the data falsification.
The operator of the Tokyo Skytree, a 634-meter (2,080-ft) -high tower that is one of Japan’s biggest tourist attractions, said it had installed KYB products, while Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said they had been used in at least seven buildings owned by the metropolitan government.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism urged KYB to take full responsibility and determine how the falsification happened, to take steps to replace the shock absorbers and make sure it never occurs again.
“This action, which has brought deep concern to building owners and users as well as weakening public trust about safety, is extremely regrettable,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said it had been told KYB products were used at several venues for the summer Olympics, but did not identify them or give any other details.
“We are aware that the Tokyo metropolitan government has already requested the company to inspect the products, and we will wait for further updates,” said spokesman Masa Takaya.
A Tokyo government official said it was possible KYB products had been used in the aquatics center and an arena to be used for volleyball, which are both under construction, but authorities were awaiting further information.
The most common of several types of shock absorbers used in buildings features a piston that moves inside a cylinder filled with silicone oil.
Shares of KYB ended trade down by 10.92 percent.