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Three days of national mourning in Haiti

December 15, 2021

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared three days of national mourning after a tanker truck loaded with fuel exploded on Monday night, killing several people.

“I learned, with desolation and emotion, the sad news of the explosion, last night, in Cap-Haitien, of a tank truck which was transporting gasoline and which caused, according to a partial report, around forty deaths, dozens of wounded, as well as significant material damage,” Henry said in a statement.

“Three days of national mourning will be decreed throughout the territory, in memory victims of this tragedy which mourns the entire Haitian nation. Field hospitals will be quickly deployed in Cap-Haitien to provide necessary care to the victims of this terrible explosion,” he added.

Police are still investigating the incident which occurred at the eastern entrance to Cap-Haitien between rooundabout Samari and Pont Grand-Bois.

Local residents who rushed to retrieve fuel from the overturned truck were killed instantly when the vehicle exploded into a gigantic fireball, and dozens more were burnt to varying degrees.

The fire spread, setting fire to vehicles, motorcycles and at least 30 houses nearby.

Media reports said that the city hospitals are overwhelmed with wounded people, most of them being treated in courtyards for lack of space. The Justinien Hospital and the Haitian Baptist Convention Hospital among others are overcrowded. Doctors and local and national authorities are calling for help.

The town hall is unable for the moment to establish a precise toll of this tragedy, at least 40 charred bodies have been recorded, but have yet to know the exact number of injured and the toll of people injured or dead in the burned houses.

Fire fighters took several hours to  contain the fire and the country remains in shock.

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