News / Africa

National Mourning Declared for Victims of Congo Explosion

UN Peacekeepers and medics stand beside the bagged bodies of victims of an oil tanker explosion in Sange, Democratic Republic of Congo, 03 Jul 2010
UN Peacekeepers and medics stand beside the bagged bodies of victims of an oil tanker explosion in Sange, Democratic Republic of Congo, 03 Jul 2010
Michael Onyiego

President Kabila has declared a national period of mourning after a tanker explosion left more than 200 dead in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Flags around the Kinshasa flew at half staff after President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared two days of national mourning for victims. Mr. Kabila has flown to the site of the explosion to console families of the victims killed and observe the humanitarian relief efforts.

The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that more than 230 bystanders were killed and 180 injured after a tanker carrying oil crashed Saturday near Sange, about 20 kilometers west of the Burundian border.

According to local reports, the truck overturned while trying to avoid traffic and began spilling oil. Though the injured driver was pulled to safety, the tanker spilled fuel for nearly an hour, attracting nearby residents who were lined up to tap the oil when the tank exploded.

The blast also spread to buildings across the street, killing and injuring residents who had gathered to watch the World Cup in makeshift shacks.

Relief efforts are being coordinated between various international organizations, such as the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the government in Kinshasa.

According to a spokesperson for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Congo, Madnodje Mounoubai, the United Nations has provided ambulances and security for the relief efforts as well as helicopter transport to hospitals in either Bukavu or Uvira for the most severely injured.

Mounoubai said Congolese authorities are providing assistance wherever possible, but added the extreme nature of the blast has overwhelmed local capacities for assistance.

"Nobody was prepared for this. In addition to that, medical facilities either in Bukavu or Uvira, they are not equipped to deal with injuries of this type," said Mounoubai. "We do not have any burn units in this area. So, obviously, they were not prepared for this."

The Congolese Red Cross has been providing medical supplies and body bags to relief workers as well as helping identify the remains of badly burned victims.

Many of the dead who cannot be identified have been buried in mass graves near the crash site. President Kabila is scheduled to visit the burial sites during his tour of the region.

You May Like

Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More