Hundreds Killed in Incidents in Tanzania, Kenya

September 12, 2011  |  

By Charlotte Young

In two separate but equally terrifying incidents, tragedy stuck East Africa’s Tanzania and Kenya this past weekend.

First in Tanzania, reports that a marine accident in Zanzibar killed 240 people on Saturday, with the death toll continuing to rise as bodies are pulled out of the ocean. An MV Spice Islander boat capsized in the Nungwi area of Zanzibar after loading its passengers. The passenger’s manifest states that 610 passengers boarded the boat at Zanzibar port and 166 boarded at Dar es Salaam. The boat has the capacity to carry about 600 passengers.

The Director of Zanzibar Port Authority, Mustafa Aboud Jumbe has accepted no blame for the incident, claiming that the authority is not responsible for supervising marine transport services of passengers or cargo.

“This is the duty of the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), which was established by the law to oversee marine and surface transport sectors,” Jumbe told Tanzanian newspaper Nipashe.

Mussa Ali Mussa, the Zanzibar Police Commissioners announced the death toll on Sunday. Many of the unidentified dead have been buried in the Kama area–west district. Recovered bodies are being buried immediately, although records will be kept for relatives seeking their loved ones.

To assist with the rescue mission, the National Social Security Fund (NSSSF) has donated funds to assist the government and burial activities. The government will hold a special prayer on Monday at the Maisara grounds in honor of the people who died in the tragic incident.

In neighboring Kenya, a leaking gasoline pipeline in Nairobi exploded on Monday killing at least 61 people and leaving over 100 injured. According to the Associated Press the flames spread about 300 yards from the pipeline incinerating everything in its path, “leaving charred bodies and blacked bones in the charred homes.”

Policeman Wilfred Mbithi, who is in charge of operations in Nairobi, told the AP that he’d lost count of the number of bodies. Many people had jumped into the now oil soaked river in attempts to put out their flames.

Report says that Kenyatta National Hospital is urgently in need of blood donors and blankets. At least 112 burn victims have arrived at the hospital so far. Many of them are children with more than a third of their bodies burned, some are unrecognizable.

The cause of the explosion on Monday is still unknown.

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