PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – A gas tanker truck has exploded in northern Haiti, killing more than 50 people and injuring dozens more in the latest disaster to hit the country troubled by the country’s growing economic crisis. this year.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said the explosion happened late Monday in the city of Cap-Haitien, adding that he was devastated.
“Three days of national mourning will be declared throughout the territory, in memory of the victims of this tragedy that the whole of Haiti is grieving,” he wrote on Twitter.
As dozens of bodies lay near the site of the explosion, people in the area scooped up gasoline from trucks and streets with buckets to bring it home, said Dave Larose, a civil engineer at Cap- Haitien, told the Associated Press.
The explosion comes as Haiti is grappling with severe fuel shortages and soaring gas prices that have forced hospitals to turn away patients, temporarily close schools and businesses, and Times led the US and Canadian governments to urge citizens to leave while they still can.
“It’s terrible what our country has to go through,” Larose said.
Haiti is still trying to recover from the July 7 assassination of the president and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck in mid-August, killing more than 2,200 people and destroying tens of thousands of homes.
The country of more than 11 million people has also been affected by a rise in gang-related kidnappings, including 17 missionaries from an American religious organization who were kidnapped in mid-January. 10. Five of them have been released but 12 others are still in custody.
Patrick Almonor, deputy mayor of Cap-Haitien, told The Associated Press that Haitians now find themselves mourning the victims of the explosion, which officials believe occurred after the gas truck overturned after trying to avoid hitting a motorcycle.
He said at least 53 deaths and more than 100 injuries were reported after the explosion destroyed about 20 homes near the site. He said he expected the death toll to continue to rise because those who died in their homes had yet to be counted.
“It’s horrible what happened,” he said. “We’ve lost a lot of lives.”
Almonor said a local hospital is in dire need of more nurses, doctors and basic medical supplies to help the injured.
“We are overwhelmed,” one person identified as Dr Calhil Turenne told Le Nouvelliste newspaper.
The Prime Minister of Haiti said his government is deploying makeshift hospitals to the area to help those affected.
Former Prime Minister Claude Joseph also expressed his condolences for the victims, tweeting: “I share the pain and sadness of all the people.”