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The situation remains “critical,” Deputy Mayor Patrick Almonor said on Tuesday, who also extended an appeal for blood donations.
“We have nearly 50 houses impacted by the fire and most of them will need to be demolished,” said Almonor.
“The city will need a lot of help to come out of this tragedy, the central government is offering to help but we are waiting to see it,” he added. “We believe we will need more than just the central government, the situation is critical.”
Almonor said the fuel tanker exploded after it had stopped due to mechanical issues and began leaking gas. People gathered to collect fuel directly from the truck when the explosion occurred, he said.
Haiti has been crippled by a severe fuel shortage that has led to power outages and protests.
Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry reacted to the tragedy on Tuesday morning, tweeting: “I learned, with desolation and emotion, the sad news of the explosion, last night, in Cap-Haitien, of a tanker truck transporting gasoline, and which caused, according to a partial report, about forty dead, dozens injured, as well as extensive material damage.”
Local officials say rescue efforts are ongoing and that the death toll is expected to rise.
Henry later declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the explosion, “in memory of the victims of this tragedy which grieves the entire Haitian nation.”
UNICEF sent its condolences to grieving families and will send medical kits for hospitals in Cap-Haitien for the treatment of the burn victims, according to a statement from spokesman Ndiaga Seck.
“UNICEF sympathizes with the pain of grieving families and families whose members have been injured,” said Seck in the statement.
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