Death toll from Tanzania fuel tanker explosion rises to 82
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The death toll from a fuel tanker that overturned and exploded on Saturday on a highway 200 kilometres west of the biggest city, Dar es Salaam, has risen to 82, hospital authorities said Wednesday.
"We are continuing to fight as best we can to save those still alive," National Hospital in Dar es Salaam spokesman, Aminiel Aligaesha, told reporters Wednesday.
There are 32 people still being treated, including 17 in intensive care.
Police reports said a vehicle was travelling on a highway in the Morogoro coastal region, when it overturned about 7am local time last Saturday.
Witnesses said that hundreds of people on motorcycles rushed over to fetch fuel from the stricken tanker. When one of them attempted to remove its battery, a huge explosion was triggered, burning everything in the vicinity.
Sixty people confirmed dead, 70 others seriously wounded after an overturned petroleum truck burst into flames at Msamvu in Morogoro town, Tanzania.Augustine Sang 🇰🇪 (@Sang_254) August 10, 2019
This amateur footage shows locals siphoning fuel before the explosion. pic.twitter.com/SzBesSbMRn
The highway from the capital Dar es Salaam through Morogoro is an important transit route for transporting goods from Tanzanian ports to neighbouring landlocked countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, Zambia and Uganda.
President John Magufuli expressed his horror over the blast. “I am very sorry to hear the deaths of our fellow Tanzanians in an accident in Morogoro. Much condolence to everyone concerned especially the families of the dead," he said in a statement.
Magufuli also warned that some tankers contain very dangerous fuel. "There are tankers containing chemical poison, trucks with explosions, etc. I appeal to you to stop this [collecting spilled fuel].”
Opposition leader Freeman Mbowe said the government needed to "educate the citizens about the effects of fetching fuel from tankers".
Over 50 people are reported dead after a petroleum lorry overturned and burst into flames at Msamvu in Morogoro town. A group of motorcyclists who thronged the area to collect leaking fuel are among those who were burnt dead. #TheCitizenUpdates pic.twitter.com/7BjLgg2VyXThe Citizen Tanzania (@TheCitizenTZ) August 10, 2019
But for local reporter Erick Nampesya, it is very difficult to avoid such accidents. “I have never seen where a fuel tanker gets accident and people don’t fetch fuel. The same cases have happened in DRC, Nigeria and many other countries”, he wrote on social media.
Zitto Kabwe the leader of ACT-Wazalendo opposition party, also issued a statement: “This is very sad news from Morogoro. It is a huge
catastrophe for our country. My heart is very sorrowful for the death of tens of Tanzanians burnt by fuel-fire”.
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