MOZAMBIQUE TAKING STEPS TO AVOID REPEAT OF FUEL TANKER TRAGEDY

Mozambique’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Leticia Klemens, says the government is taking corrective measures to avoid any repetition of last month’s tragedy in Moatize district, in the western province of Tete, where the explosion of a fuel tanker killed more than a hundred people.

“We are paying due attention,” she was quoted as saying in the Beira daily newspaper, Diario de Mocambique, on Monday.

The Minister, who was visiting the Brazilian coal mining company Vale in Moatize, and the resettlement area of Cateme for people displaced by Vale’s open cast mine, added that the tragedy deeply concerned the government, which was working to ensure that it never happened again.

The disaster occurred in the locality of Caphiridzange on Nov 17, when a large crowd was stealing fuel from the tanker, which belonged to a Malawian haulage company. The tanker was carrying about 80,000 litres of petrol, in two large tanks, from the Mozambican port of Beira to land-locked Malawi.

On the main road through Tete to Malawi the truck suffered a breakdown. A second truck (without a trailer) arrived from Malawi, but instead of taking the cargo to its intended destination the two Malawians, co-ordinating with informal Mozambican fuel traders, decided to steal the petrol. The result was a catastrophic explosion and fire in which well over a hundred people were killed or maimed.

According to Lidia Cunha, the director of Tete Provincial Hospital, the death toll has now reached 103. Only 11 people have recovered from their burns sufficiently to be discharged, and a further 23 patients remain hospitalized.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK