The tragedy occurred in Cap-Haitien, the second city of this Caribbean country hard hit by security and economic crises, as well as by natural disasters.
According to Patrick Almonor, the deputy mayor of Cap-Haitien, the driver of the tanker would have tried to avoid a collision with a motorcycle-taxi, thus losing control of his vehicle, which overturned.
Residents would then rush to the truck, despite the driver’s warnings, to recover the fuel, which Haiti is sorely lacking, before being largely killed in the explosion.
The deputy mayor explained that he had counted at least 50 bodies.
It is impossible to identify them given their burns, the official said.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who earlier reported a partial record of
forty dead and
dozens of injured, announced on Twitter three days of national mourning
in memory of the victims of this tragedy which mourns the entire Haitian nation.
Around twenty houses around the site of the explosion also caught fire following the explosion, according to Mr. Almonor, raising fears of a heavier toll.
We are not yet able to give details of the number of victims inside the houses., he clarified.
For now, overwhelmed medical services are trying to cope with the influx of patients requiring urgent care.
We do not have the means to take care of the many seriously burned people, testified to AFP a nurse from the Justinien hospital, where many wounded were transported.
I’m afraid we won’t be able to save them all.
Faced with the emergency, the Prime Minister also announced the deployment of field hospitals
to provide necessary care to the victims of this terrible explosion.
Haiti, a poor Caribbean country, is in the throes of a severe fuel shortage, due to gangs’ seizure of part of the fueling circuit.
In recent months, armed gangs have greatly increased their hold over Port-au-Prince, controlling the roads leading to the country’s three oil terminals.
More than a dozen fuel transport vehicles were hijacked by gangs who demanded heavy ransoms for the drivers’ release.
This arouses strong discontent among the population and Haiti was also the scene on Monday of demonstrations against the increase in gasoline prices.
Since October, telecommunications networks and the media have drastically reduced their activities across the country, being unable to find fuel for the thermal generators that supply the antennas with electricity.
This energy crisis is also hampering the functioning of the few hospital structures across the country.
Port located on the northern coast of Haiti, Cap-Haitien is the second largest city in the country.