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Democratic Republic of Congo - Red Cross interview

Death toll in oil tanker tragedy rises, as helicopters shift injured

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The death toll in the oil tanker tragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo stands at 219, according to Red Cross officials in Kinshasa. About 100 more are seriously injured with many being transferred to the provincial capital by UN forces helicopter.


“Two-hundred and eight people were killed immediately, 11 other people died … after being evacuated in several health facilities of the region,” Ina Caloga of the International Red Cross in Kinshasa told RFI.

The village of Sange was set on fire when a tanker truck turned over, leaking oil and then exploding as villagers gathered around it.

Ina Caloga of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent

“Our estimate so far is that 100 people were injured … the main injuries are very serious burns,” says Caloga.

“Now the priorities for us and the national Red Cross society of the DRC, as well as the provincial authorities of South Kivu, is to take care of the wounded and ensure that they are evacuated to the adequate facilities as soon as possible.”

UN forces’ helicopters transferred about 30 of the injured to Bukavu during Saturday afternoon with a further 40 hoped to be moved later.

“The Red Cross volunteers have been busy since this morning collecting bodies and burying them, trying to identify those bodies, trying to know who they were, which is proving very difficult because, as you can imagine, many of these bodies are completely burnt up ...” Caloga says.

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