The 115 people killed in Friday’s massive fuel tanker explosion in Sierra Leone are being buried in a mass ceremony in the capital, Freetown.

Many of the dead were burnt beyond recognition after fuel leaked before catching fire at a busy junction.

The authorities have also made an urgent appeal for blood donations to treat more than 100 burn victims admitted to hospitals.

Officials say that blood supplies might run out in the next 72 hours.

Those being buried on Monday will be laid to rest in the same cemetery as some of those who died in the 2017 mudslide that killed some 1,000 people in the city, says local journalist Umaru Fofana.

A health ministry spokesman has confirmed that the number of known deaths has risen to 115.

President Julius Maada Bio has declared three days of national mourning for Friday’s disaster and ordered flags to be flown at half-mast.

Mr Bio also said that a task force would be set up to look into the tragedy, and make recommendations on how to avoid similar incidents.

Most hospitals in the West African nation have been stretched thin by the accident because of the growing medical needs and also because the sector has not fully recovered from the 2014 Ebola pandemic.

The World Health Organization has despatched 6,000 tonnes of medical supplies to help treat the victims.

‘The fire had burnt all his clothes’

Mayeni Jones, BBC News, Freetown

A pungent smell of burnt rubber and metal hangs in the air, a haunting reminder of the tragedy that happened here on Friday night.

At a nearby local bar, a popular spot to hang out, ashes still smoulder.

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