Pope Francis expresses his closeness to victims of an explosion and fire at a Guinea fuel depot.

During the Weekly General Wednesday on 20 December, Pope Francis turned his thoughts to Guinea, where an explosion at the country’s main fuel depot has left at least 18 people dead and a hundred seriously injured. The Pontiff expressed his closeness to the families of those killed and injured in the explosion in Conakry, the Guinean capital.

Vatican News.

“Following the serious explosion in Conakry, which has claimed many victims, I express my closeness to the families of the deceased and the injured,” said the Holy Father during the Weekly General Audience held in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. He then prayed that God would sustain and keep them in hope, inviting the people of Guinea to “touch with your finger the closeness of God in the crib, and receive his joy.”

A rising death toll

On the night of Sunday, 17 December, to Monday, 18 December, an explosion and a fire at Guinea’s main oil depot killed 18 people and injured 212 others. The blast in Conakry, the Guinean capital, is now causing concern about fuel supply in the country.

The Government announced the “minimum” reopening of administrative offices in downtown Conakry and the resumption of fuel supplies throughout the country.

Assistance for victims

The UN has also mobilised volunteers who have been joined by rescue teams and aid workers to help victims of the explosion and fire.

The country’s public prosecutor has opened a judicial inquiry to determine the cause of the fire.