Fuel leaking from a tank ignited by a cigarette butt accidentally thrown in has taken the lives of well over 100 people in the densely populated area of Nairobi in Kenya.
A petrol tank at a depot belonging to the Kenyan Pipeline Company burst and fuel spilled into an open sewer running through the populated slum. People tried desperately to scoop up the fuel and sewage but unfortunately burst into flames because of the cigarette butt.
The flames engulfed the community and many people burnt to death. Pictures of smoldering skeletons as well as horrendous images of survivors with skin peeling off their faces and arms due to the intense heat were aired on television.
Reports from the Red Cross say that an informal school within the community was burnt along with the students. Officials are unable to give an exact number of deaths though it is said to be over 150, with the police chief stating “the scene is very bad, there are many bodies we have not yet counted”.
Fire fighters were seen scrambling along the narrow alleyways spreading foam on the fuel that is spreading and fire that is still raging.
A strong earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale has hit the Van region of Turkey, killing almost 200 people while leaving 1000 people injured. Officials believe that the death is expected to rise, with the town of Ercis being hit the hardest.
Mustafa Erdik, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Earthquake Engineering, suggests how serious this earthquake is, in saying, “We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost – it could be 500 or 1,000.”
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake hit the Van region at 10:41 GMT, and was followed by two powerful aftershocks measuring 5.6 and 6.0, with the area around north Van being affected the most.
The Prime Minister has visited the earthquake-stricken areas and said that the villages close to Van were the hardest hit as these houses were made of clay that were not according to building regulations. Turkey continues to be vulnerable to these earthquakes because it is located at one of the major geological fault lines.
Even though the Prime Minister has stated that Turkey will be able to handle the rescue efforts by themselves, officials in towns are requesting for urgent assistance as people are trapped within the buildings that have fallen.
What makes this difficult for rescue workers to help is the fact that they cannot arrange for heavy machinery to extricate these people who are buried under the rubble. Most residents who were not affected by the earthquake are spending their nights outside their home for the fear of aftershocks.