Haiti fuel lorry explosion kills at least 60

Number of victims is expected to rise as hospital pleads for supplies

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A fuel lorry exploded in northern Haiti on Tuesday, killing at least 60 people.

Patrick Almonor, the deputy mayor of the city of Cap-Haitien, said authorities were searching for more victims amid the charred debris.

The explosion happened late on Monday. People rushed outside to escape the flames consuming part of their neighbourhood. Hours later, a local hospital became overwhelmed with injured people and pleaded for basic supplies and more medical staff.

Former prime minister Claude Joseph said he was “shattered” by the news.

“I share the pain and sorrow of all the people,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mr Almonor said more than 100 people had been reported injured following the explosion that burnt about 20 homes near the site. He said he expected the number of deaths to keep rising because people who died in their homes had not yet been counted.

“It’s horrible what happened,” he said. “We lost so many lives.”

Local newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported that dozens had been admitted to hospital with injuries.

“We are overwhelmed,” the paper quoted Dr Calhil Turenne as saying.

Dave Larose, a civil engineer who works in Cap-Haitien, told AP that he was driving when he saw ambulances and a crowd of people gathered along a road at about 1am.

People stand at the site of an explosion in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Photo: Screengrab from Reuters TV

He said he had observed how some people were using buckets to scoop up gasoline from the lorry and the street to take back to their houses. The explosion occurred as Haiti struggles with a severe shortage of fuel and soaring gas prices.

“It’s terrible what our country has to go through” Mr Larose said.

Updated: December 14, 2021, 6:46 PM