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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Dec. 16, 2021: Haitian families on Wednesday began burying the dead as the death toll from the explosion of a tanker on Tuesday in Cap-Haitien worsened to 75 dead.

“Our latest situation report shows 75 dead, 47 serious burns and 12 light burns,” who are hospitalized across the country, Jerry Chandler, director of Haitian civil protection, told AFP Wednesday evening.

Haitian rescue workers found 61 bodies at the site of a fuel truck explosion in the city of Cap-Haitien, a fire department official said on Wednesday, adding that the death toll was worsened by residents attempting to break open the vehicle to gather fuel.

Frandy Jean, who heads Haiti’s fire brigade for the northern region, told Reuters that the impact was worsened because residents were storing fuel in their homes and because some approached the truck when it flipped.

“The driver had warned the people not to go near the truck,” Jean said in an interview. “They did not listen. They were carrying their telephones, which they used (as flashlights), and some tried to perforate the tank with hammers.”

The tragedy prompted an emotive lament from Pope Francis and a call to prayer for the Caribbean nation, which this year has suffered a brutal wave of gang violence, a presidential assassination and a devastating earthquake. Gangs have grown more powerful since the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise, which created a political vacuum and allowed criminal groups to expand their territory.

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