Morogoro. Police have launched a crackdown against trade in petroleum products by unlicensed dealers on the Morogoro highway.
This comes as the death toll from the fuel tanker blast rose to 99 yesterday after two more victims of the disaster succumbed at Muhimbil National Hospital yesterday.
Regional Police Commander Wilbroad Mutafungwa said as part of plans to prevent such disasters from happening again, the authorities were embarking on a public awareness campaign on disaster management. The launch took place at Mikese Fulwe Village targeting people who live along the Morogoro road.
Mr Mutafungwa said the campaign would run in all districts of the region, harbouring hope that it will help equip the residents with knowledge of how to respond when disasters strike.
Apart from banning the informal trading of petroleum products, Mr Mutafungwa also used the occasion to public transport drivers who contravene the law by refuelling with passengers inside their buses.
“It’s really dangerous and let them know that by doing so, they are violating the law,” he said.
According to him, the latest campaign will enable the residents to become aware of how to provide assistance during accidents safely. The commander reminded the public not to take advantage of accidents because it was risky.
“The youth should find jobs, which will provide them stable income instead of waiting to make a kill when disasters and accidents occur,” he said.
On the other hand, villagers along the Morogoro road pleaded with the police to ensure that they patrol the road constantly, a move they believe would help improve their response to disasters and accidents. “That will protect us from serious effects,” said Mikese Fulwe resident Iddy Ramadhan.
He said the awareness programme should specifically target bodaboda drivers who, according to him, have a tendency of rushing to accident scenes with various intentions.
Meanwhile, the Morogoro Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Kusirye Ukio, said yesterday that survivors of the recent fuel tanker blast were responding well to treatment.
“Sixteen of them have started exercises. They are responding well to treatment…Those who had burns on their hands are being encouraged to routinely move their fingers as part of the exercise,” he said.
For his part, the acting administrative secretary of Morogoro Region, Mr Noel Kazimoto, said discussions towards the construction of a tower at the Kolla Cemetery - where the blast victims were buried – were progressing well.
He said the region’s disaster management committee met recently and agreed to find a way of involving other stakeholders to ensure that the tower and a fence were built at the cemetery. The tragedy occurred on Saturday, August 10, 2019 when a fuel tanker overturned and exploded as crowds rushed to siphon petrol.