As the explosion happened late Monday night in Cap-Haitien, survivors ran outside screaming as they saw how their neighbourhood was being consumed by the flames. A local hospital was overwhelmed by injured people hours later as it appealed for more medical staff and basic supplies.
Several bodies were found near the explosion site. Some people used buckets and trucks to pick up gasoline from the street and truck to transport it back home, Dave Larose (a Cap-Haitien civil engineer) told The Associated Press.
As Haiti struggles with fuel shortages and spiraling prices, the explosion took place. Hospitals were forced to turn away patients and temporarily shut down gas stations and schools. This prompted Canada and the U.S. to urge their citizens to flee while they could.
Larose stated, "It is terrible what our country must go through."
Haiti continues to recover from the July 7 presidential assassination. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August killed more than 2,200 people, and destroyed tens of thousand of homes. A spike in kidnappings by gangs has also affected the country of over 11 million people. 17 missionaries from the United States were taken hostage in October. Five of the 12 abducted missionaries have been released, but others are being held.
Haitians are now mourning the loss of their loved ones. Officials believe the explosion occurred when the truck carrying gas overturned while trying to avoid hitting a motorcycle. Patrick Almonor (deputy mayor of Cap-Haitien), told The Associated Press.
According to him, at least 53 people were killed and over 100 others were injured in the blast that erupted near 20 homes. He stated that he expected the death toll to rise because of the inability to count those who were killed at their homes.
He said, "It's terrible what happened." "We lost so many people."
Almonor stated that a local hospital needs more doctors, nurses and basic medical supplies in order to treat the injured.
"We are overwhelmed," Dr. Calhil Turenne, a person identified by Le Nouvelliste, stated to Le Nouvelliste.
Ariel Henry, Prime Minister, stated that he was devastated by the news and announced that his administration would deploy field hospitals in the region to assist those who were affected.
He tweeted, "Three Days of National Mourning will be declared throughout the territory in memory of these victims of the tragedy that the whole Haitian Nation is grieving."
Former Prime Minister Claude Joseph also grieved the victims and tweeted, "I share your pain and sorrow."