By Isaac Yak R. Tutdel
Sept 20, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — The Republic of South Sudan, on 17th September 2015, learned with great dismay the massive loss of lives caused by fuel tanker which overturned and unexpectedly caught fire in Maridi County, Western Equatoria State. The story according to the eyewitness at the scene during the event is that the truck coming from Juba to Yambio overturned and began leaking. Then people rushed to the scene to collect petrol from the leaking tanker. The tanker then exploded for unclear reasons.
Public needs to know the reasons as to why this fuel tanker overturned and caught fire. “government should never leave anything to chance”. One of the disturbing statement in the report is how the people who were burned beyond recognition got buried in a mass grave. “In Mambe Payam, 65 people who cannot be identified were buried in a mass grave”. How can this version be possibly perceived? No sound mind would buy this argument as to why the dead were buried together because they cannot be identified in spite of all the modern tools available nowadays for such purposes. Affirmative action is required to satisfy the feelings of relatives of the victims.
Both the central government in Juba, and the State government in Western Equatoria, should constitute a parallel teams to carry out a thorough investigation and come up with findings that shall be publicly made available and published with the leading media houses. The terms of references for the investigation should include, but not limited to:-
- The circumstances under which the truck got overturned.
- Lesson learned from this incident and;
- Formidable Recommendations.
- (a)The circumstances under which the truck overturned.
- Road conditions;
- Over speeding;
- Careless driving;
- Involved in accident and;
- Unbalanced load against the specifications of the tanker.
- (b) Check the particulars of the Tanker.
- Valid insurance certificate;
- Valid incorporation or registration details from all the concerned institutions in South Sudan;
- Valid driving license of the driver;
- State of mind of the driver at the time of incident;
- Details of contractor and the contracting parties;
- Is the overturned tanker fitted with the firefighting materials since it is designated to transport dangerous good (fuel)?
- Is the tanker designed to transport petroleum products initially where/ when was it manufactured?
- Did the driver caution the surrounding populations to expect imminent danger from leaked tank?
- Lesson learned.
- Ignorance of the local population to detect the likely danger from this dangerous good (petrol);
- The dare need of energy supply to meet the need of the populace to avoid a reoccurrence of this undesirable massive death;
- The essence of a thorough and unbiased investigation.
- All the victims who were mass graved must be exhumed, identified and handed over to their respective families for proper and dignified burial.
- All the victims must be compensated by the company insurer
- Government of Western Equatoria, with the support from the central government, should build a tombstone for “Maridi Fuel Tanker Victims” (MFTV), marked R.I.P.
The conditions surrounding the Maridi tragedy represent one of the major challenges to be faced by the upcoming Transitional Government of National Unity especially in the area of the energy sector.
May the Almighty Father rest their souls and others, in eternal peace!!!