“This is a great tragedy which has in a single day befallen our citizens in Western Equatoria state. On behalf of the SPLM/SPLA and on my own behalf, I pay my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones in this tragic incident,” Machar said.
Machar calls for thorough investigation to determine whether the causes of the tragedy was a human or mechanical error.
To the shocked residents of Maridi, the devastating incident is the first and worst of its kind.
Earlier reports indicated that at least 176 people died and 50 others sustained serious injuries.
Health reports, however, fear that more people are dying due to insufficient medical services. The two health centres, Maridi County hospital and the neighboring Olo Primary Health Clinic in Mambe Payam, are both overwhelmed.
Five additional medical professionals were dispatched from Juba yesterday, however, the two health centers run short of medical supplies.
Basic medical supplies like painkillers, oxygen, and anti-tetanus are reportedly inadequate.
Cause of Explosion
According to witnesses testimonies, the oil tanker explosion happened at a time when many civilians gathered around the tanker to fetch fuel.
Although the cause of explosion is yet to be determined, Wednesday reports indicate that the tanker overturned a few kilometers before reaching Maridi town.
While the driver went off to seek help, it’s believed that the residents started gathering at the scene to fetch fuel from the tanker when it suddenly explodes.
It’s yet to be confirmed if the driver survives the tragedy but more than 65 people were burned beyond recognition.
“Some people are burned all the legs, some the hands, some the whole body, the back,” said the witness, describing the burn victims. “They look like a white person.” a witness told Radio Tamazuj.
South Sudan government was yet to response at the time of this report.