Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Three children and a woman were yesterday confirmed dead in an explosion that occurred in a gas plant at Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area (LGA), Delta State on Friday.
The explosion also left a dozen persons battling for their lives at different hospitals, following severe burns they sustained.
The explosion reportedly occurred due to a fire outbreak which occurred when a tanker laden with gas attempted to discharge gas at the commercial gas plant.
Fielding questions on the incident, the state governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa confirmed the casualty figures after visiting the gas plant and meeting with families of victims of the explosion.
He disclosed that the survivors had been duly referred to a specialised centre for the treatment of burns at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City in Edo State, due to the high degree of burns they sustained.
Okowa described the fire disaster as unfortunate, saying the Delta State Government would be responsible for the cost of medical treatment of the victims.
Okowa said: “We have visited the place and the victims and we have seen the extent of damage caused by the inferno. We lost four persons; three children and a woman.
“After my visit to the two families that lost their dear ones, I also visited the Central Hospital at Agbor where they were initially rushed to with varying degrees of burns ranging from 80 to 90 per cent.
“They were offered medical services even though they would not have been able to attend to them because of the extent of the burns so they have to transfer them to the Federal Medical Centre Asaba and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital with aid of ambulances provided by the state government.
“I have directed the Commissioner for Health to make some deposits at the hospitals to enable them to have full treatment,” the governor explained.
Okowa said complaints of inadequate medical care for the victims at the Agbor Central Hospital were misplaced, adding that most people who complained didn’t have an idea of what they were talking about.
He said: “I have listened and heard the complaints. I have listened to the medical director and the extent to which they went. Obviously, the patients had severe and extensive burns.
“Any burn that is above 30 per cent is a major burn and we are talking about 80 to 90 per cent burns here.
“So they needed to be moved to UBTH, a specialised centre for the treatment of burns. When you have such a degree of burns many hospitals will not accept them because the survival rate is low,” Okowa said.
Okowa said that he would liaise with the State House of Assembly towards enactment of a law-regulating establishment of plants for such highly inflammable substances.
“Obviously it’s a sad situation and we thank God that this one wasn’t close to a densely populated area otherwise the damage would have been more.
“I have just told the member representing Ika South Constituency, Hon. Festus Okoh, that I am going to meet with the House of Assembly to enact a law to that effect,” the governor explained.