Death toll from Haiti truck explosion rises to 90: official

Port-au-Prince (AFP) – Over a dozen people severely injured in a gas truck explosion last week have died, raising the total number of deaths to 90, the deputy mayor of Cap-Haitien, the city in Haiti where the tragedy occurred, said Monday.


The count is "still unfortunately incomplete" due to severe injuries suffered by those still hospitalized, said Patrick Almonor.

The previous tally released last Wednesday by Haitian authorities stood at 75 deaths with 47 victims severely burnt.

According to Almonor, in the night of December 13, the driver of the gas truck lost control when he swerved to avoid a motor-taxi, and subsequently overturned. Residents tried to collect the spilled fuel which then exploded.

On Tuesday, national funerals will be observed in the city's main cathedral, but only 25 caskets will be set up. The majority of the victims were buried shortly afterward in a mass grave in Cap-Haitien.

In a country plagued by natural disasters and political instability, more than 60 percent of Haiti's 11 million inhabitants live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Fuel shortages have been a frequent occurrence in recent years, with authorities regularly running out of cash to pay gas distributors.

"Fuel is worth its weight in gold these days in the country, and there it was free for the taking," Almonor said, describing the scene of the explosion, "that's what worsened the toll."