Gas explosion and fire kills seven, injures dozens at Ethiopia stadium construction site
08 September 2017
Witnesses have confirmed that seven workers died and dozens more were injured in a gas explosion at Ethiopia's national stadium construction site on August 8. The explosion was not reported until a local newspaper published interviews with survivors on September 5. The main contractor, Chinese State Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC), has refused to comment on the incident.
Artists impression of completed Adey Abaya stadium - Image: Ethiosports
The Addis Standard confirmed the incident by visiting survivors in hospital in Addis Ababa and talking to other victims who have now been discharged. They said 20 construction workers were in an on-site dormitory when a gas cylinder exploded followed by a fire.
Local press has criticised both the government and CSCEC for not disclosing the incident, and the latter has come under scrutiny for its lack of health and safety policies.
According to the victims Addis Standard talked to, currently there are around 800 Ethiopians and close to 200 Chinese construction workers at the site. Among the Ethiopians, around half were living in the compound in 19 dormitories built from corrugated iron and housing around 20 people on average. The workers said that there were no fire extinguishers in and around the dormitories and parts of the dormitories were covered with plastic canvas, which had likely exacerbated the fire.