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Death toll increases to 150 in Ghana gas station explosion amid floods

By Andrew V. Pestano and Danielle Haynes

ACCRA, Ghana, June 4 (UPI) -- The death toll from a gas station explosion in Accra, Ghana's capital, has increased to at least 150, President John Dramani Mahama said.

Dozens of people had sought shelter at the gas station from torrential rain and heavy flooding that have left many homeless.

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The start of the fire at the gas station on Thursday is believed to be linked to the torrential weather the city is experiencing, Accra fire brigade spokesman Prince Billy Anaglate said.

Accra has been dealing with a downpour of rain for the past two days, leaving many without homes or electricity. More rain is expected, BBC News reported.

Rescue efforts were made difficult by flooding, and there were fears the death toll could rise during the search for bodies.

The flooding has washed away cars and blocked many roads.

Mahama visited the site of the explosion, praising the rescue workers for the lives they were able to save, but stated he was at a loss of words to express his feelings for those who died and also appealed for public calm.

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He said "people building in waterways [and] littering the drains" had contributed to the flooding.

Mahama ordered three days of national mourning set to begin Monday.

The city of Greater Accra has a population of more than 4 million. The government says it plans to set aside $14 million in relief to help flood victims after an emergency meeting of Mahama's cabinet and security chiefs.

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