1 At least 50 people were killed when a gas tanker exploded in the Haitian city of Cap-Haitien on Tuesday morning, according to a local official, and overwhelmed local doctors said the death toll was feared to rise.
2 Deputy Mayor Patrick Almonor, who visited the blast site, said he had seen more than 50 badly burned bodies, while Prime Minister Ariel Henry had estimated the death toll at around 40 in an earlier tweet.
3 Almonor said the victims he saw had been “burned alive”, adding: “It is impossible to identify them.”
4 According to Almonor, the tanker is believed to have rolled over after the driver lost control while swerving to avoid a motorcycle taxi.
5 Fuel spilled onto the road and pedestrians apparently rushed to collect gas from the tanker, which is in short supply as Haiti faces a severe fuel shortage caused by increasingly tight control by criminal gangs in the capital, Puerto The prince.
6 Almonor said that about 20 houses in the area were also set on fire in the blast, but that details were not yet available on possible casualty numbers inside the houses.
7 The nearby Justinien University Hospital was overwhelmed with patients as the injured were transported to the facility.
9 “I’m afraid we won’t be able to save them all,” he said.
10 The Haitian prime minister decreed a period of national mourning after the explosion that he said left “around 40 people” dead and dozens injured.
12 “Three days of national mourning will be decreed throughout the territory, in memory of the victims of this tragedy that has devastated the entire Haitian nation.”
13 Henry promised that field hospitals would be quickly deployed to help treat the blast victims.
14 Fuel crisis
The Caribbean nation has never produced enough electricity to meet the needs of the entire population. Even in affluent areas of the capital, Haiti’s state electricity company only provides, at most, a few hours of power a day.
15 Those who can afford it depend on expensive generators, which do not help in the face of severe fuel shortages caused by gangs blocking access to the country’s oil terminals in the capital and its outskirts.
16 In recent months, more than a dozen vehicles carrying fuel have been attacked by gangs demanding ransoms for the drivers’ release.
17 Protesters took to the streets as recently as Monday to protest the resulting rise in gasoline prices.
18 Lack of fuel is also hampering access to water, in a country where many people depend on private companies to truck water to domestic systems.
19 And without a guarantee of a constant supply of power or water, healthcare providers have been forced to drastically cut their services.
21 Cap-Haitien, located on the north coast, is the second largest city in the country.
22 Source Credit: TheGuardian