Fuel truck explosion in Haiti kills at least 62 people

i24NEWS - AFP

2 min read
A woman walks on a street in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on January 22, 2019.
Gemma HANDY / AFPA woman walks on a street in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on January 22, 2019.

The tanker is believed to have flipped over after the driver lost control while swerving to avoid a taxi

At least 62 were killed in a fuel truck explosion in the Haitian city of Cap-Haitien on Monday night, Prime Minister Ariel Henry said on Tuesday, adding that the Caribbean nation would observe three days of mourning for the deceased.

"I learned, with desolation and emotion, the sad news of the explosion, last night, in Cap-Haitien, of a tanker truck which transported gasoline," Henry wrote on Twitter.

Deputy Mayor Patrick Almonor visited the site of the blast, saying the victims he saw had been "burned alive" adding that it was impossible to identify them.

According to Almonor, the tanker is believed to have flipped over after the driver lost control while swerving to avoid a motorcycle taxi.

Fuel spilled onto the road and pedestrians apparently rushed to collect the tanker's gas, which is in short supply as Haiti grapples with a severe fuel shortage caused by the tightening grip of criminal gangs on the capital Port-au-Prince.

Almonor said around 20 houses in the area were also set ablaze by the explosion, but that no details were yet available on possible victim numbers inside the homes.

Nearby Justinien University Hospital was overwhelmed with patients as the injured were transported to the facility.

"We don't have the ability to treat the number of seriously burned people," a nurse told AFP.

"I'm afraid we won't be able to save them all," she said.