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article imageAfrica: 244 dead, 220 injured in two curiously similar disasters

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 4, 2010 in World
Kinshasa - Explosions of two gasoline transport trucks in two consecutive days at the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Nigeria caused about 244 casualties and more than 200 people injured.
At least 230 dead and 212 injured left the explosion of a gasoline tanker after it overturned on Friday night at the center of a town in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The tragedy occurred in the village of Sange, 60 miles south of the city of Bukavu, in the eastern Congolese province of South Kivu, when a gasoline tanker truck coming from Tanzania overturned. According to initial investigations by local police, speeding was the "most likely reason" for the accident.
The accident prompted dozens of people attempting to collect part of the spilled fuel in containers. Suddenly, the vehicle exploded killing about 230 people, mostly men, but also close to 60 of the victims were children and about 40 women. The explosion caused many houses in the vicinity of the accident to burn, including a movie theatre where people were watching the soccer game between Holland and Brazil.
Lagos. In a similar accident, thirteen people were killed and nine seriously injured by the explosion of a fuel tanker truck in Nigeria, media reported today.
The accident occurred when the driver of the vehicle, which was carrying 33,000 litres of gasoline, lost control when taking a turn in the city of Gombe, in northeastern Nigeria . The truck went off the road and spilled fuel, causing a fire and explosion. Nine other vehicles in the vicinity of the accident also burned.
The tragedies in DR of Congo and Nigeria expose in part the existing poverty in many of Africa’s oil producing countries. When such accidents happen, the desperate poor often rush to the damaged oil trucks attempting to siphon some of the spilled fuel and carry it in buckets or plastic jugs, often aware of the danger, but willing to take the risk.
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