A new disaster has hit Haiti, already regularly hit by natural disasters and shaken by security, political and economic crises. Tuesday, December 14, at least sixty-two people died in the explosion of a tanker truck in Cap-Haitien, the second city of this Caribbean country. Many more were injured and are currently in critical condition.
According to Patrick Almonor, the deputy mayor of Cap-Haitien, the driver of the tanker would have tried to avoid a collision with a motorcycle taxi, thus losing control of his vehicle, which overturned. Residents would then rush to the truck, despite the driver’s warnings, to recover the fuel that Haiti is sorely lacking, before being, for many, killed in the explosion. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced on Twitter three days of national mourning in “The memory of the victims of this tragedy which mourns the entire Haitian nation”.
” Forty “ houses around the site of the explosion also caught fire following the explosion, according to Mr. Almonor, raising fears of a heavier toll. “We are not yet able to give details on the number of victims inside the houses”, he clarified. The identification of victims may also take time. “It is impossible to identify them” at present, explained the deputy mayor, due to their burns.
At least forty seriously injured
For now, the overwhelmed health services are trying to cope with the influx of patients requiring urgent care. “We do not have the means to take care of the many seriously burned people”, testified a nurse of the Justinien hospital, where many wounded were transported: “I’m afraid we won’t be able to save them all. “” People are burned to more than 60% of the body surface “, said Doctor Kalhil Turenne, who counts forty seriously injured and two dead in this hospital.
Faced with the emergency, the Prime Minister also announced the deployment of field hospitals “To provide necessary care to the victims of this terrible explosion”.
Haiti, a poor Caribbean country, is in the throes of a severe fuel shortage due to gang control over part of the fueling circuit. In recent months, armed gangs have greatly increased their hold over Port-au-Prince by controlling the roads leading to the country’s three oil terminals.
More than a dozen fuel transport vehicles were hijacked by gangs who demanded heavy ransoms for the drivers’ release. This arouses strong anger among the population: Haiti was also the scene of demonstrations on Monday against the increase in gasoline prices.
Since October, the telecommunications networks and the media have drastically reduced their activities across the country, for lack of being able to find fuel for the thermal generators which supply the antennas with electricity. This energy crisis is also hampering the functioning of the few hospital structures across the country.