Columbus’ newest sister city, Accra, the capital of Ghana, suffered a tragedy this week. Heavy rains caused massive flooding in the city which killed an estimated 25 people, according to the BBC. On Wednesday night, the floods caused an Accra gas station to explode and set fire to businesses in the surrounding neighborhood. The BBC is reporting at least 150 fatalities from the explosion and fire.
It is believed that the rising waters carried fuel from the gas station into a fire at a nearby location, sparking the explosion. Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, announced the nation would observe three days of mourning for those lost in the floods and the fire. Mahama also said measures must be taken to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Columbus added Accra as its tenth sister city earlier this year, joining Dresden, Germany; Seville, Spain; Herzliya, Israel, Tainan City, Taiwan; Hefei, China; Odense, Denmark; Genoa, Italy; Ahmedabad, India and Curitiba, Brazil. Mayor Michael Coleman announced the choice of Accra at his final State of the City address in February, telling the crowd that as the first African-American mayor of Columbus, he could not leave office without having a sister city in Africa.
Accra was chosen because of the sizable population of Ghanaians living in Columbus and Central Ohio and because of Accra’s progressiveness and the ease of doing business in the city.
On Friday, the Columbus City Council tweeted, “Our thoughts and condolences are with those suffering the tragic loss life in our sister city Accra, Ghana.”