Tanzania Prime Minister in Morogoro As Death Toll From Fuel Tanker Blast Tragedy Rises to 68

The charred remains of motorcycle taxis at the scene of the oil tanker blast in Morogoro.

Dar es Salaam/Morogoro. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa travelled to Morogoro on Sunday, August 11, 2019 as the government steps up efforts to deal with victims of Saturday's fuel tanker tragedy.

Mr Majaliwa is joining several other national leaders, including the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Policy Parliamentary Affairs, Labour Employment Youth and the Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama, who have been camping in Marogoro since Saturday, August 10.

The tragedy took place at Msamvu area in Morogoro on Saturday when a crashed fuel tanker exploded as crowds rushed to syphon off leaking petrol.

President John Magufuli on Sunday declared three days of mourning following the tragedy.

Briefing the Prime Minister on Sunday, August 11, 2019, the Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Dr Stephen Kebwe, said the death toll in Saturday's fuel tanker blast has risen to 68.

Official figures, released on Saturday evening, put the death toll at 64.

"So far, the number of people who have died in the accident has reached 68. At least 72 people were injured," he told the Prime Minister shortly after his (Prime Minister's) arrival.

Mr Majaliwa is expected to issue a statement to the relatives of the deceased who have gathered at Morogoro Secondary School grounds, waiting for their turn to take part in DNA tests and burial for their beloved ones.

Footage from the scene showed the truck engulfed in flames and huge clouds of black smoke, with charred bodies. The burnt-out remains of motorcycle taxis lie scattered on the ground among scorched trees.

A video posted on social media showed dozens of people carrying yellow jerricans around the truck.

In Dar es Salaam, the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) spokesman, Mr Aminiel Eligaesha, said a team of doctors from Tanzania's national referral health facility had gone to Morogoro and established that at least 47 of the injured people were to be given referral.

"As we are talking, we have already received 30 of them while 17 more are received this morning," he said.

He said some 28 doctors at the MNH and 64 nurses were on standby, ready to treat those injured in the tragedy.

"We have set aside a total of 89 beds out of which, 21 are in the Intensive Care Unit," he said noting that in case the NMH gets overwhelmed by the number of patients, then some of them will be transferred to the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (Moi).

President Magufuli called Saturday for people to stop the dangerous practice of stealing fuel in such a way.

Magufuli issued a statement saying he was "very shocked" by the looting of fuel from damaged vehicles.

"There are vehicles that carry dangerous fuel oil, as in this case in Morogoro, there are others that carry toxic chemicals or explosives, let's stop this practice, please," he said.

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