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Absolute grief engulfs nation ...71 is the latest death toll of the Morogoro fuel tank blast

A SOMBRE mood engulfed Morogoro municipality yesterday with business activities coming to standstill as Prime Minister Kas- sim Majaliwa led mourners at the burial service for people who died in the wake of a fuel tanker explo- sion incident last Saturday.

The premier announced formation of a special commission to probe and present to the government detailed information on the source of the tragic incident which had by yesterday left 71 dead.

The tragedy occurred on Saturday morning when a crashed fuel tanker exploded as some people rushed to syphon off leaking petrol. An official statement obtained shortly be- fore we went to press last night indicated that 59 victims were still nursing wounds.

Forty three patients were admitted to Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam and the re- maining 16 were at Morogoro referral hospitals.

“Controversies still surround this fatal acci- dent. A lot of questions are still unanswered. Wemust find out if authorities here, including traf- fic police and the fire department did their job,” Mr Majaliwa told the relatives of the deceased at Morogoro Secondary School grounds who were waiting to take part in DNA tests and burial of their families.

The bodies were burnt beyond recogni- tion, forcing the government to apply DNA tests. The commission, according to the pre- mier, has until this F riday to present its find- ings and, among other aspects, will investigate how the authorities in the eastern region re- sponded to the accident before leading to loss of lives.

“It is obvious that when the accident oc- curs traffic police are obliged to rush to the site immediately even by using rental vehicle. Who was responsible to preventing people to reach the tanker ? Did the fire brigade arrive in time? I want the probe team to come with a full detailed report,” he said.

According to him, a similar incident oc- curred at Mbalizi area in the Mbeya Region in the past and claimed the lives of many Tan- zanians, and the same has now occurred in Morogoro.

He noted that there was a need to launch investigations to establish who did not fulfill his or her responsibility. The premier, who represented President Magufuli at the occasion, said the government was very shocked to establish that some of the deceased were burnt beyond recognition. “President Magufuli is deeply saddened by this tragedy. That is why he sent me to de- liver his condolences to you for the deaths of our relatives who have lost lives in this tragic incident,” he said.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Majaliwa visited 16 victims of the accident who were undergoing medical treatment at the Morogoro Referral Hospital. He said the government will make sure that they get the best possible health ser- vice until they recover and resume their daily activities.

He said the President had already issued a permit for the government to provide money for buying medical devices and medicines that are needed to save the lives of injured persons who are undergoing treatment. Mr Majaliwa has further urged the people to donate blood in order to increase the stock to blood banks in hospitals.

He said the blood will not only help the injured of the fire acci- dent but also other patients who will be in need in future

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Author: JIMMY LWANGILI

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