Death toll in Tanzania's sugar factory explosion rises to 13

  • World
  • Saturday, 25 May 2024

DAR ES SALAAM, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in the sugar factory explosion in eastern Tanzania has risen from 11 on Thursday to 13 on Friday, a local doctor said.

George Dilunga, head of the Benjamin Mkapa Hospital Emergency Department, said that the death toll increased after two injured Tanzanian nationals died while receiving specialized treatment at the hospital in the capital, Dodoma.

"Doctors worked round the clock to save their lives, but it is very unfortunate that they could not make it," Dilunga told Xinhua.

The explosion at the Mtibwa sugar factory in Morogoro Region occurred early Thursday, killing three foreigners from Brazil, Kenya and India, as well as eight Tanzanian technicians.

Morogoro Regional Fire and Rescue Commander Shaban Marujugo said that the blast hit the control room, where technicians were testing one of the newly fixed heating systems for sugar production.

Juma Ramadhan Palamba, an electrician at the plant, added that the explosion occurred after a pipe releasing steam into a boiler burst.

The newly fixed system was scheduled to start operations on Friday, he said, noting that he escaped unhurt because he had stepped out of the control room to answer a phone call at the time of the explosion.

Morogoro Regional Commissioner Adam Malima on Thursday ordered a three-day shutdown of the sugar factory after the explosion to allow the Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force to investigate the accident's cause.

Following the explosion, Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade Ashatu Kijaji and Minister of Agriculture Hussein Bashe visited the factory and pledged government support to repair the damage.

Kijaji said that the government was in contact with the embassies of the deceased foreign technicians to make funeral arrangements, as the sugar factory management had offered to pay for the funerals.

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