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News > Latin America

Three-Day Mourning After Explosion That Left 75 Haitians Dead

  • People at the gas tanker truck explosion site, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 15, 2021.

    People at the gas tanker truck explosion site, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 15, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @ConflitsFrance

Published 15 December 2021
Opinion

After the truck rolled over in a crowded neighborhood on Tuesday, people gathered around it to collect fuel. As they were doing so, some undetermined action prompted a gigantic explosion.

On Tuesday, Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry decreed three days of national mourning in memory of 75 people who died as a result of the explosion of a tanker transporting gasoline in Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in this Caribbean country.

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After the truck rolled over in a crowded neighborhood, people gathered around it to collect fuel. As they were doing so, some undetermined action prompted a gigantic explosion that immediately affected everything in its vicinity. As a result, the city's hospitals are full of injured people.

"We have so many seriously injured people... I'm afraid we won't be able to save everyone," said a nurse at Justinien University Hospital, where patients were even treated on makeshift stretchers in the courtyard.

The Baptist Hospital Convention Director Euclide Toussaint said the situation is also complicated in his institution where there are not enough resources to care for all the wounded.

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez: "We convey our heartfelt condolences to the Haitian government and people for the citizens who died and were injured by the explosion of a tanker in Cap-Haitien. We extend our condolences to the victims' relatives and friends."

"In addition to health staff, we need serum, gauze, and anything else that can be used to treat serious burns," Cap-Haitien Mayor Yvrose Pierre said, emphasizing that her city was not prepared for a tragedy of this magnitude.

On Wednesday morning, as rescuers continue to find bodies in the rubble, city officials are trying to quantify the damage at the fire site. "Given that some 40 houses in the surrounding area caught fire, the number of victims has yet to be counted. Relief operations continue. Identification of the victims will not be obvious as burns on the corpses will make it difficult to obtain conclusive data," outlet 24 Matins commented.

For several months, Haitians have been suffering from a severe economic crisis that has worsened due to fuel shortages, which have been used by urban gangs to hijack tanker trucks and sell their contents at exorbitant prices.

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