Death toll in Freetown gasoline tanker explosion rises to 131

Dozens of wounded individuals are nonetheless being handled at hospitals, with 19 nonetheless in a important situation, authorities say.

Freetown, Sierra Leone – The loss of life toll following a devastating gasoline tanker explosion final week in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, has risen to 131, in keeping with authorities.

Another 63 folks had been nonetheless being handled in 4 Freetown hospitals, with 19 of them being in a important situation, Mohamed Lamrana Bah, director of communication on the authorities’s National Disaster Management Agency, mentioned on Wednesday.

The tragedy on Friday occurred on a busy junction in Wellington, jap Freetown, when a gasoline tanker was hit by a truck, which later caught fireplace.

Victims included bike drivers who rushed to gather leaking gasoline coming from the tanker, roadside feminine merchants and commuters trapped in minibuses that had been backed up alongside the normally busy highway.

Posters with images of the lacking and useless have been caught on partitions and buildings across the web site. More than 70 our bodies had been charred past recognition, and relations of the lacking instructed Al Jazeera that they’re now assuming their family members had been amongst them.

Crowds attend a mass burial for victims of a gasoline tanker explosion in Freetown [Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Large numbers of individuals attended a mass burial on Monday, the place some 75 unidentifiable our bodies had been laid to relaxation in a cemetery that additionally holds victims of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak and a 2017 mudslide, the nation’s worst pure catastrophe which killed greater than 1,100 folks.

Government officers mentioned tissue samples taken from every of the our bodies could be despatched overseas for testing.

“The corpses [were] numbered and tissue samples [were] also numbered before being taken for burial. These are being sent abroad for DNA testing and it could take some months for results to return,” mentioned Austin Kennan, the Sierra Leone nation director for Concern Worldwide, a humanitarian organisation serving to with the method.

“Graves are also being numbered so we can identify people in the coming months. We hope that this will bring some solace to those who have lost loved ones in this awful and heartbreaking tragedy.”

Coffins containing victims of the gasoline tanker explosion seen lined up throughout a mass burial in Freetown [Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

In the preliminary days after the explosion, medics mentioned they had been working out of provides to deal with the wounded. Al Jazeera witnessed a health care provider assembly potential donors of provides inside a ward in one of many metropolis’s hospitals, immediately beside a number of the individuals who had suffered burn wounds.

Bah, of the catastrophe administration company, mentioned Sierra Leone has handled bigger disasters earlier than when it comes to the loss of life toll, “but what makes this one very unique … [is] for people to be engulfed in fire and burned beyond recognition – that is unprecedented for this country”.

The World Health Organization pledged 6.6 tonnes of emergency medical provides. Bah mentioned a number of international locations had additionally supplied to ship in burns specialists and medical specialists. There has additionally been a blood drive, with locals inspired to donate to “save the victims of the Freetown explosion”.

Back on the web site of the explosion, the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society was registering the relations and spouses of the useless and wounded, a lot of whom are hoping for presidency help.

“At this moment it is our opinion that it is not really timely for us to start making promises for what we can do for them but we will definitely come out with something,” mentioned Bah.

Identifying the right households is a sluggish course of, he added, due to issues that folks with no association to the incident might make false claims as a consequence of poverty or desperation.

“We want to take our time so we find workable strategies,” Bah mentioned.