At least 75 die in gasoline pipeline explosion in Kenya

A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya’s capital exploded Monday, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which at least 75 people were killed and more than 100 hurt.

Flames leaped out from the pipeline in a radius of about 300 yards, setting shacks ablaze and incinerating scores of people. Reporters later saw clusters of charred bodies and blackened bones at the site. Some burned bodies floated in a nearby river filled with sewage. Homes had been built right up to the pipeline, the residents said.

Resident Joseph Mwangi, 34, said he was feeding his cow when people went running past him, calling out that there was a leak in the pipeline. He said others started drawing fuel, and that he was going to go and get a bucket and get fuel too when he heard an explosion about 9 a.m. By then, fuel had leaked into the river and parts of the river also had caught fire. People in flames were jumping into the fiery, stinking mess, he said.

Moments later, Mwangi discovered two small, charred bodies in the burned wreckage of his home.

“Those were my children,” he said blankly, before collapsing on the ground, sobbing.

The Red Cross was conducting search-and-rescue operations and had set up two tents for first aid and counseling, said Bernard Magila, who was helping with the operation.

At least 112 burn victims arrived at Kenyatta National Hospital and they urgently needed blood donors and blankets, said Richard Lisiyampe, the head of the hospital.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “sorrow and sympathy” to the families of the victims and the government, and said the UN “stands in solidarity with the people of Kenya at this difficult moment,” spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

“This is a terrible accident,” said Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who visited the wounded in a hospital. He said the government would cover medical expenses for the injured and pay compensation to those who lost loved ones. He also said he had visited the offices of government-owned Kenya Pipeline, which operates the pipeline.

Odinga said he was told that the explosion was caused by a leak from the pipeline into nearby sewage. “There will be a proper investigation,” Odinga said.




~ by FSVSF Admin on 13 September, 2011.

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