Nigeria Tanker fire: Death toll hits 137

The authorities of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) have created a ward dedicated to victims of last Thursday’s petrol tanker fire at Okogbe.

But the condition of many of them remained bad yesterday with an additional seven dying to bring the death toll so far to 137.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UPTH, Prof. Aaron Ojule, said on phone yesterday that more survivors of the tanker fire were being moved into the UPTH.

Prof Ojule is also the Chairman of the special committee set up by the Rivers State Government to handle the emergencies arising from the tragedy.

Forty three of the victims are still receiving treatment in hospitals in Rivers and Bayelsa States, according to the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA’s) South-South Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Umesi Emenike.

It was gathered that many of the survivors are on the danger list at the UPTH and the Rivers government-owned Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH), both in Port Harcourt, as well as the Federal Medical Centre in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and Ahoada General Hospital, Ahoada, the headquarters of Ahoada East LGA, where some of the victims were initially rushed to.

Niger Deltans are asking President Goodluck Jonathan to speedily complete the East-West Road’s dualisation, and blamed the bad state of the road for the accident and the resultant fire.

The CMD of UPTH said: “Many more of the victims (of Okogbe petrol tanker fire) are being moved to UPTH. We received 23 yesterday (Friday), but we lost seven. The figures are changing, because many of the victims are dying.

“Many of the survivors are being referred to UPTH from other hospitals and centres. We have created a ward at UPTH to handle the emergency, which is really unfortunate. We are trying our best to save the lives of the victims.

“Two of the victims still at Ahoada General Hospital will be transferred to UPTH this (yesterday) evening or tomorrow (this) morning. Many of the survivors are also being transferred to UPTH from BMH in Port Harcourt.”

Ojule added that a sub-committee had been put in place at the UPTH to collate the figures of the victims and to know those who have died so far, in order to avoid confusion.

The NEMA’s South-South coordinator speaking on Rhythm FM, Port Harcourt yesterday described the incident as very sad and unfortunate.

Emenike said: “Forty three victims are still in hospitals. Most of the victims have been moved from Ahoada General Hospital and other hospitals in Ahoada and its environs to UPTH and BMSH in Port Harcourt, where doctors and other health workers are battling to save their lives.

The East-West Road Communities Association (EWRCA), has cried out over “seeming” abandonment of the strategic road, saying it is a shame the President is from the region.

It also disagreed with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, who hails from Delta State, over his recent claim that 60 per cent of the East-West road had been completed.

EWRCA, a body of stakeholders, comprising monarchs, chiefs, youths, opinion leaders and other professionals in the affected communities, stated at a news conference in Port Harcourt that the road is now a death trap and den of armed robbers and kidnappers.

The East-West road starts from Oron in Akwa Ibom State and passes through Ogoniland in Rivers State, then to Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ondo and Ogun states, while terminating in Lagos State, with EWRCA’s leaders being particular about the portion between Eleme Junction in Rivers state and Kaiama in Bayelsa state.

via The Nation

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