Pope prays for victims of Haiti fuel tanker explosion
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
A fuel tanker explosion in northern Haiti killed at least 60 people and injured dozens of others on Monday.
During the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis prayed for the victims and their families.
“In the past hours, there has been a devastating explosion at Cap-Haïtien in northern Haiti in which many people lost their lives, including many children,” the Pope said in his appeal to the Italian-speaking faithful.
“Let us pray, let us pray for Haiti. They are good people, religious people, but they are suffering so much.”
The Holy Father expressed his closeness to the people of the city, as well as the families of the victims and the injured, and invited the faithful to “join in prayers for these brothers and sisters of ours who are so sorely tried.”
Haitian authorities said that the explosion occurred after a fuel tanker overturned and exploded late on Monday in the Caribbean nation’s second-largest city, Cap-Haitien.
Several sources put the death toll at above 60 persons, but the number is expected to rise as local authorities say that rescue operations are still underway. Many of the wounded have been taken to nearby hospitals, which are already overwhelmed.
The explosion also caused extensive damage to the city, impacting dozens of houses in the vicinity of the blast
The Haitian government has declared three days of national mourning in memory of the victims of the deadly explosion.
This latest incident comes as Haiti is experiencing a severe fuel shortage amid its significant economic and political crises in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July.
The country is still struggling to recover from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck in mid-August, which killed thousands of people.