An International Medical Corps team was immediately at the scene of a fuel tanker explosion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that killed some 230 people and injured at least a hundred others over the weekend. International Medical Corps medical personnel based in the area were able to provide emergency treatment at the disaster site, as well as follow-up care for burns and other injuries at nearby Uvira Hospital.
The explosion occurred approximately eight hours after a gasoline truck overturned, spilling more than 60,000 liters of fuel across the village. People in the area rushed toward the tanker in hopes of gathering fuel. The lit cigarette of one of these spectators allegedly sparked a massive fire and explosion, both of which were exacerbated by containers of cooking fuel at restaurant kitchens in the immediate vicinity of the accident. The resulting fires swept quickly through homes and commercial buildings in the area, including a café at which a crowd had gathered to watch the World Cup.
Plans are currently underway to bring additional wounded to Uvira and other hospitals in the region. As many of these patients will require emergency care and infection management, International Medical Corps is coordinating with local authorities and hospitals to provide ongoing medical care, vital medicines and supplies.