PRESIDENT Magufuli yes- terday visited Muhimbili Na- tional Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam to console victims of the oil tanker explosion which occurred on Saturday in Morogoro, leaving 71 people dead.
Reports as of yesterday evening indicated that the number of those who were seriously burnt and referred to the national health facil- ity reached 43 while 16 others were nursing wounds at the Morogoro Referral Hospital.
Shortly after the incident, the Head of State sent a con- dolence message to the fami- lies of the bereaved families and wished those who sus- tained injuries speedy and full recovery. Plus, he declared a three- day national mourning that ends today with flags being displayed at half-staff.
President Magufuli spent a good part of yesterday at MNH, moving from one bed to another, consoling the vic- tims. He gave 500,000/- to each patient as he directed the hos- pital management to issue first class treatment to all of them.
Speaking at the national health facility, Dr Magufuli reiterated the warning he gave on Saturday through a media statement issued by the Direc- torate of Presidential Commu- nications. He warned against looting fuel from damaged vehicles, hinting that some vehicles car- ried toxic dangerous chemi- cals or explosives.
Dr Magufuli however called upon Tanzanians to refrain from the tendency of drawing conclusion that all victims were thieves who showed up to siphon fuel from the tanker.
"I want all the explosion survivors who are nursing wounds at the hospital to get first class treatment and the government will foot all the costs," he said.
The MNH Executive Di- rector, Prof Lawrence Museru, briefed President Magufuli that they received a total of 46 victims from Morogoro who were gravely burnt with three of them dying at the hospital.
Dr Magufuli thanked medical experts from both Morogoro referral hospital and MNH and the Tanza- nia People's Defence F orce (TPDF ) for their concerted efforts in serving the blast's victims.
"SADC sympathises and remains in solidarity with the government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania during this painful and sad moment. We wish all Tanzanians courage and strength as the Country faces this big loss."
Meanw hile, President Magufuli ordered the MNH boss to release the body of a woman who was being held at the hospital over relatives' failure to foot medical bills amounting to 5m/ - Rahel Kitwai Roita wept as she briefed the Head of State and sought his inter- vention, explaining that she had been taking care of her mother there for a long time, and she died.
In addition to pledging to personally foot the bill, he gave her 500,000/ -, over which she was tremendously delighted and grateful. Earlier, the Southern Af- rican Development Commu- nity (SADC) sent its condo- lences to Tanzania following the tragic incident, describ- ing it as a loss to the region. In a condolence mes- sage, SADC chairperson and Namibian President Hage Geingob said the regional bloc had "learnt with great sorrow and sadness" of a deadly fire accident.
"This is a loss not only to Tanzania, but to the SADC region as a whole," he said. "SADC sympathises and remains in solidarity with the government and the peo- ple of the United Republic of Tanzania during this painful and sad moment. We wish all Tanzanians courage and strength as the Country faces this big loss reads statement in parts