South Sudan fuel tanker explosion kills dozens

Thursday, September 17, 2015

An overturned tanker exploded in Western Equatoria, South Sudan yesterday, killing dozens.

Motorcycles and a truck on a dirt road in South Sudan. The country has few paved roads.
Image: JennaCB123.

The death toll is unclear. At least 85 died according to presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny, citing "local authorities". Charles Kisagna of the local government said at least 100 died. County commissioner Wilson Thomas Yanga in remarks to the BBC put the toll at a minimum of 176.

The Red Cross said it had sent two burn kits to local rescuers in Maridi with provisions for 100 patients. Kisanga warns the toll may increase "because we do not have the facilities to treat the highly burnt people." Radio Tamazuj spoke to a doctor who reported reserves of painkillers, oxygen, and other consumables were being exhausted.

Some casualties may have fled the scene. Reportedly, after the driver walked away from the crash to seek assistance, local residents began stealing petrol. South Sudan has few paved roads. Mass casualty fuel explosions are common in poor regions of East Africa.