Haiti fuel truck explosion kills around 40 as the country reels from crisis after crisis
By Sourced Externally
December 14, 2021
A truck carrying gasoline exploded in northern Haiti, killing around 40 people and injuring dozens of others in the latest disaster to hit a country whose troubles deepened greatly this year.
The Prime Minister has declared three days of national mourning
Haiti is currently grappling with a severe fuel shortage that recently prompted a shutdown of schools and businesses
This year, Haiti has weathered a devastating earthquake, a presidential assassination and a spike in gang-related kidnappings
The blast occurred late on Tuesday in the city of Cap-Haitien, Prime Minister Ariel Henry said, adding that he was devastated.
As dozens of bodies lay near the explosion site, people in the area used buckets to scoop up gasoline from the truck and the street to take back to their homes, Dave Larose, a civil engineer who works in Cap-Haitien, told The Associated Press.
The blast occurred late on Tuesday, with the Prime Minister saying the area was devastated.(Reuters: Reuters TV)
The explosion occurred as Haiti struggles with a severe shortage of fuel and skyrocketing gas prices that recently forced hospitals to turn away patients, temporarily shut down schools and businesses and prompted the government of US and Canada to urge its citizens to leave while they still could.
Haiti is still trying to recover from the July 7 presidential assassination and a magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck in mid-August, killing more than 2,200 people and destroying tens of thousands of homes.
The country of more than 11 million people also has been hit by a spike in gang-related kidnappings, including 17 missionaries with a US religious organisation who were abducted in mid-October. Five of them have been released but another 12 are still being held.
Now, Haitians find themselves mourning the victims of the explosion, which officials believe occurred after the gas truck overturned after apparently trying to avoid hitting a motorcycle, Patrick Almonor, deputy mayor of Cap-Haitien, told The Associated Press.
He said at least 53 deaths and more than 100 injured have been reported following the explosion that burned around 20 homes near the site.
He said he expects the number of deaths to keep rising because people who died in their homes have not yet been counted.
He said a local hospital is in dire need of more nurses, doctors and basic medical supplies to help those injured.
Haiti’s prime minister said his administration was deploying field hospitals to the area to help those affected.
Former Prime Minister Claude Joseph also mourned the victims, tweeting, “I share the pain and sorrow of all the people.”