Death toll in Pakistan oil tanker fire jumps to 212
Death toll in late last month's fuel tanker blast in Pakistan's northeastern Punjab province has risen to 212, a government official told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
At least 12 more victims succumbed to their wounds at hospitals in the last three days, Dr. Amir Bukhari, a senior health official at the provincial government said.
"With the death of two more victims today [Wednesday], the latest death toll reached 212," Dr. Bukhari said.
Casualties from the deadly fire may further rise as several people with 60 to 80 percent burn injuries are still stated to be in critical condition, he added.
Over 150 people were injured when an overturned oil tanker caught fire in Bahawalpur district of northeastern Punjab province on June 25, a day before Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Some 125 unidentified victims were already buried following a mass funeral at the site of the fire as their bodies were so badly charred and beyond recognition.
Several injured, according to locals, lost their lives due to unavailability of burns units at the hospitals as dozens were transported to the provincial capital Lahore and Multan city for better treatment.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is serving his third term as premier, is credited for development of communication networks in the country, but is often criticized for not paying as much attention towards the development of health and education sectors.
The fire tragedy took place when a big crowd of villagers had gathered to collect fuel from an overturned tanker on the national highway near Ahmedpur East area in Bahawalpur.
According to initial investigations, a cigarette is suspected to have caused the massive blaze that engulfed the people collecting the spilled fuel, a high-value commodity in Pakistan, especially in areas like Ahmedpur East which has long suffered from poverty and illiteracy.
Pakistan has a long history of road and rail disasters, mainly because of poor infrastructure and lack of safety standards.