The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has deployed staff and equipment to assist victims at the scene where a fuel truck overturned, caught fire and exploded, killing more than 200 people who had gathered there in an attempt to siphon fuel.
The accident happed yesterday evening when the tanker truck carrying fuel from the city of Bukavu to the town of Uvira in eastern DRC rolled over near the village of Sangue, 33 kilometres north of Uvira.
Preliminary assessments have put the death toll at about 220 people killed, 111 injured and a dozen of homes destroyed by the inferno that spread across the village.
The UN mission, known by its French acronym as MONUSCO, sent a helicopter and ambulances to evacuate the wounded to the nearest hospital. MONUSCO is also ready to receive the most serious cases in its hospital in Bukavu.
“We are in contact with the authorities and the UN Country Team to coordinate assistance to victims,” said Leila Zerrougui, interim Special Representative of the Secretary-General. “It''s a real tragedy. We will spare no effort and will do everything possible to assist the authorities and assist victims.
“I offer my sincere condolences to the Congolese Government, the population of South Kivu province and the families of the victims,” Ms. Zerrougui added.