…As 4 die, five injured in attacks on Ebola responders in DR Congo***
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has confirmed the death of two people in a gas explosion which occurred on Thursday.
It added that 23 others who were seriously injured were rescued from the explosion that occurred at Adule Street, Off Ojo Road, in Ajegunle area near Apapa, in Lagos State.
The Director-General (D-G) of LASEMA, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed the development to the newsmen.
The D-G said that when LASEMA officials arrived at the scene of the incident, they discovered that a gas cylinder store had exploded as a result of a gas leakage.
“Our further investigations at the scene revealed that the fire ignited as a result of a phone call by an unidentified resident.
“This spread to other nearby shops and a bungalow behind the shops.
“Unfortunately, two children (a male and a female) lost their lives and there were other 23 casualties who sustained multiple burns.
“All the casualties have been evacuated to the Burnt Unit, Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos for treatment,” he said.
Oke-Osanyintolu said the remains of one of the two bodies, identified as Damilare Afolabi, had been bagged by the LASEMA Response Team (LRT) and handed over to the family.
He, however, said that the entire area had been cordoned off and that post-disaster assessment was ongoing.
He urged residents to avoid the use of naked fire in the area to prevent further disaster.
Also read: Surulere Super Plaza gutted by fire in Lagos
In the meantime, four members of Ebola response teams in eastern Congo have been killed in two attacks that the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicted will undermine efforts to contain the haemorrhagic fever epidemic in the African country.
There had only been seven Ebola cases in the last week, down from a peak of more than 120 per week in April, the WHO said in a statement.
“Ebola was retreating. These attacks will give it force again, and more people will die as a consequence.
“We call on everyone who has a role to play to end this cycle of violence,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said
The two attacks during Tuesday night targeted a residential camp in Biakato Mines and an Ebola response coordination office in Mangina, a farming village where the Ebola outbreak started more than a year ago.
It was not immediately clear who the attackers were. There are numerous rebel groups operating in eastern Congo, which have complicated efforts to curb the spread of the disease, as has a local population suspicious of health workers.
WHO said that those killed in the attacks included a member of a vaccination team, two drivers and a police officer.
None of its staff members were among the dead.
“We are heartbroken that people have died in the line of duty as they worked to save others.
“The world has lost brave professionals,” Tedros said.
Five people were also injured in the attacks, including one WHO employee and staff from the Congo Ministry of Health.
“We are doing everything possible to bring the injured and front-line workers in the impacted areas to safety,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said.
In Mangina, one militiaman was killed by security forces, Miphy Bwata of the Congo Health Ministry’s communication office told dpa.
Ebola has infected more than 3,300 and killed nearly 2,200 people in Congo’s volatile east, according to authorities.
The WHO declared the outbreak an international health emergency in July after the disease spread to Goma, a major urban centre near the border with Rwanda.
The organisation has more than 800 staff on the ground supporting the government-led response together with national and international partners.
More than 255,000 people in Congo have received Ebola vaccines as part of the efforts to contain the virus.