Abuja, Port Harcourt — Thirteen more victims of Thursday's petrol tanker explosion at Ula-Okogbe, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State have been reported dead, raising the death toll from 95 to 108.
They were part of the 43 persons that were taken to various hospitals in the state for treatment.
The tragedy has continued to draw torrents of condolences to Governor Chibuike Amaechi as Senate President, David Mark and Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal have variously sent messages.
The South-south Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Emenike Umesi, told THISDAY yesterday that 43 victims of the explosion were taken to three hospitals in the state, namely the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Braithwaite Memorial Hospital (BMH) and Ahoada General Hospital.
According to Umesi, "As at this afternoon, the situation is like this: the death toll increased from 95 to 108. Total number of persons still in hospital is 43. They are distributed in the following hospitals: UPTH 23, BMH 11, Ahoada General Hospital 9.
"Out of the number rushed to the hospital, 3 persons died in BMH, 4 in Ahoada and 6 in UPTH."
He noted that most of the victims in the hospital had between 60 to 80 degree burns but said "the hospitals are taking care of them, and the President has ordered that we assist in any way to ensure their survival."
He expressed concern that relatives of some of the victims took them to native doctors, but said the agency was more concerned with those receiving orthodox medical care.
"When we got to Ahoada, some of their relatives had moved their persons to traditional medicine practitioners. We may not be able to keep track of those ones. We are interested only the ones in orthodox hospitals," he said.
Meanwhile the State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has ordered a full investigation into the incident.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt by the Ministry of Information, the governor said, "We must stop this needless loss of lives" and also directed that no cost must be spared to ensure the best medical attention and care for the wounded victims.
He condoled with the families of those who lost their lives in the incident and expressed regret over the avoidable tragedy.