Tragic Explosion in Liberia: Over 40 Dead as Leaking Fuel Tanker Ignites During Gasoline Collection

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The site of the explosion

In a devastating incident in Totota, central Liberia, a leaking fuel tanker explosion resulted in over 40 deaths and at least 83 injuries, as reported by local authorities on Thursday. The tragic event occurred on Tuesday when people gathered to collect gasoline from the tanker.

Due to the severity of the burns, many victims were unrecognizable, leading to their burial in a mass grave on Wednesday, as stated by Dr. Cynthia Blapook of Bong County health department. The exact number of fatalities remains uncertain because of the condition of the remains.

Liberian Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor attended the mass funeral, expressing her shock and sorrow over the tragedy. Health officials have raised concerns that the number of injured may increase, as some victims might not have received medical care yet.

The incident has prompted calls for stronger safety measures. Dr. Minnie Sankawolo-Rocks, treating the injured, urged the Liberian government to establish disaster management teams in every county for emergency response. She also appealed to the public to avoid approaching fuel tankers for gasoline, a practice that has led to similar tragedies in other parts of Africa. This plea reflects the urgency to prevent such catastrophic incidents in the future and highlights the critical need for public awareness and government action in managing hazardous materials.

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