Pattaya Daily News

04 July 2010 :: 10:07:12 am 28654

Tanker Spill Ignites Destroying Entire Village, 230 Feared Dead

A fully laden fuel truck (long-haul tanker) has crashed and exploded in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday. At present, it is unknown what caused the accident, however the death toll stands at 230 as of Sunday morning.
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DR Congo, the 3rd of July 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: At present, the deceased have been collected by rescue and aid workers to be buried in two mass graves on the outskirts of the village. Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the accident, which involved a long-haul fuel tanker travelling from Tanzania.

The truck crashed as it passed through the village of Songe, approximately 70km South of the town of Bukavu in South Kivu, spilling vast quantities of fuel onto the ground. Reportedly, a large majority of the deceased, including local villagers and military personnel, died when the spill ignited as they were trying to collect the valuable commodity.

Others died within the village cinema, watching the World Cup, with some also trapped in their homes as the massive quantity of leaked fuel ignited. The village of Songe, consisting of wooden, thatched houses, has been destroyed in the resultant blaze.

UN peacekeepers, aid workers and soldiers have been working around the clock to clean-up the scene, including carrying over 230 dead bodies to two mass graves outside the village. Dozens of injured have been evacuated to hospitals in the towns of Bukavu and Uvira with over 190 confirmed injured in the incident.

South Kivu’s Vice-Governor stated the situation in Sange as “terrible” further explaining, “There are lots of dead bodies on the streets. The population is in terrible shock, no-one is crying or speaking.”

Local villager Tondo Sahizira [28] told the AFP news agency, “Petrol began to leak out but instead of fleeing people came to collect the fuel. A few minutes later there was an explosion, flames burst from the truck and spread very quickly.”

Allegedly, five Pakistani peacekeepers in the are at the time of the accident had warned residents to flee the area and not to collect the spilled fuel.

Kiza Ruvinira, a mother of three, told Reuters news agency, “My children were watching the football match in the cinema and then they ran out to see the petrol. I went out to see what happened and I found my three children’s bodies myself. I don’t know how to go on.”

The latest death toll stands at 230 with another 196 people confirmed injured. Tragically, The Red Cross state that at least 61 children and 36 women are among the deceased.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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