The government of Guinea announced that petrol distribution would resume from Saturday, five days after supplies were suspended following an explosion and fire at the west African nation’s main fuel depot which left at least 23 dead.

The population has been without petrol since Monday, paralysing large parts of the economy.

“The government is pleased to announce to the population that thanks to diplomatic efforts with neighbouring countries, the fuel supply at service stations will see a significant improvement,” the government said in a press release Friday evening.

From Saturday, “the sale of petrol and diesel in service stations throughout the territory is rationed as follows: 25 litres per vehicle, five litres per motorcycle and tricycle, and a ban on jerry cans”, it said, adding that the tankers would circulate under escort.

The supply of diesel had resumed on Wednesday, but not of petrol.

The fire at the depot in Kaloum district of Conakry near the port has still not been extinguished and firefighters continue to battle the flames.

Air quality readings indicate the persistence of suspended particles that can cause respiratory problems, said the government, which has made mask-wearing compulsory in the municipality.

An initial survey found 800 damaged buildings, most of them within a radius of 500 metres (yards) from the epicentre of the fire.

A total of 10,337 people were affected by the destruction, according to the government.

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