-Health Authorities say 70 deaths so far

By Vaye A. Lepolu

A Ministry of Health report says the death toll of the recent tanker explosion in Totota, Bong County, has increased to 70 deaths.

Health authorities in Liberia claimed, 152 cases including two are now being identified from the gas explosion. 

Additional 37 are also being recorded at various hospitals across the country, totaling at least two deaths of females.

Health authorities say a total of 61 persons between the ages of 10-57 years are now being admitted and managed at six health facilities including 12 patients at the J.F.K., Six at the ELWA, five at the Catholic Hospital, eight at the 14 Military Hospital, two at the Latter-Day Saints and 28 at the Phebe Hospital in Bong County.

A total of 14 cases of first-degree burns are now being managed at home in Totota, Bong County, while active cases search, and investigation is ongoing in the affected communities.

It may be recognized that on December 26, 2023, local authorities of Bong County reported a painful fire incident that occurred in the town of Totota, Lower Bong County, as a result of a Gas tanker explosion.

 An identified tanker Known as God Willing owned by a petroleum duller from Ganta City was reportedly transporting petroleum products from Monrovia to Gbarnga, Bong County, and burst into flames hours after it fell into the drainage opposite the famous Upper Room Church on the Mulbah Hill Community.

It is reported from Representative Moima Briggs Mensah district #6 Bong County stated that over two hundred residents of the city were involved in extracting the petroleum product from the tanker when it exploded resulting in several injuries and deaths.

“This incident also affected electricity in the town resulting in a power outage at the health facility. Consequently, the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Maternal and Child Health (MCH), and other essential health services are disrupted.” The Ministry of Health situation report noted.

Health authorities say they have now intensified several Public Health Actions in the path of the gas explosion which has now caused at least 70 deaths.

The Ministry of Health has activated the Incident Management System Health Cluster to respond to the disaster, and the issuance of daily Incident Management System (IMS) meetings at the MOH command center to ensure coordination of the ongoing response.

However, the Ministry of Health also stated that identified cases have been admitted in five hospitals and one clinical (Phebe, JFK, Catholic, ELWA, 14th Military Hospital, and Latter-Day Saints), with active case search ongoing for missing individuals that have not been accounted for, while Medical and none medical supplies donated by WHO, Rotary Club of Sinkor, MSF, Liberia National Red Cross, ArcelorMittal-Liberia, etc are distributed to the hospitals with critical needs.

Health authorities report said all reported cases from the fire incident have been transferred and directed  to the facilities Surge team of clinical staff has been deployed in four hospitals (JFK, ELWA, Catholic, and 14th Military Hospitals)

On the care of Mental Health and psychosocial, the Ministry of Health says it in collaboration with the Liberia National Red Cross and Bong CHT provides Psychological First Aid support.

Meanwhile, nine Health Workers and 107 Guardians have received Mental Health and psychosocial support, including the assignment of Mental Health and psychosocial personnel at the four hospitals in and around Montserrado and Bong Counties (JFK, ELWA, 14th Military Hospitals and Phebe).

For Risk Communication Community Engagement activities, the Ministry of Health has instituted Community engagement and awareness in various communities in the affected County, to include Sensitization and awareness activities.