Oil blaze death toll soars

Up to 100 people are now thought to have died from injuries sustained when an oil pipeline set ablaze in Burma’s central Magwe division last week.

Fourteen people were reported killed in the immediate aftermath of the incident close to Nyaung Hla village. A local in the Myit Chay village-tract where Nyaung Hla is located said that “only black pieces remained of their bodies”.

But subsequent reports claim that the death toll is far higher, with at least 100 now thought to have died.

“Many people died in the villages today [Tuesday]. Two more people died in Aing Gyi village as well as six in Pakokku,” said another Myit Chay resident. “There were 18 people [hospitalised] in Myit Chay and two died [on Monday]. There were also about 40 people hospitalised in Kyun Chaung and about 30 of them were in a critical condition.”

The hospitals were not available for comment.

The pipeline, which transports oil between Magwe division and Sagaing division to the north, erupted on 24 October as locals were scavenging for oil. Eye-witnesses said the force of the heat split the pipeline in two.

Engineers have been dispatched to fix the pipeline but locals claim authorities are doing little to help the victims. Two trucks carrying new pipes have arrived in the town accompanied by army and police.

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