Kenya declares week of national mourning after tragedies
The Kenyan government on Sunday declared a week of national mourning starting on Monday after fire tragedies at retail chain in Nairobi and gasoline explosion in northwest part of the east African region, Xinhua reported.
In a statement issued in Nairobi, President Mwai Kibaki who is attending the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ordered the national flag to fly at half-mast in honor of the departed victims.
"All official functions and celebrations parties have been put on hold for the whole week," Kibaki said in a statement.
Kibaki said he was saddened that so many Kenyans had lost their lives through such a tragic accident that has traumatized many families.
He expressed sympathy for the bereaved families and wished all those who have been admitted to various hospitals with serious burns a quick recovery.
At least 111 people died in tanker gasoline explosion on Saturday night after a truck carrying fuel overturned on the highway between the cities of Nakuru and Eldoret.
Hundreds of people had gathered to collect the spilled gasoline when the truck burst into flames late Saturday. On Wednesday, at least 26 people died when a branch of the country's retail chain, Nakumat, caught fire.
In his statement, President Kibaki regretted that such a tragic accident occurred so soon after another fire killed many innocent lives at the Nakumatt Supermarket in Nairobi and directed all relevant arms of the government to take necessary measures to avert such tragedies.
There were scenes of grief and anguish as relatives turned up to inquire of their kin's conditions at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital.
Graphic images of burnt people characterized ward nine of the hospital where the injured were rushed for treatment.
"Certainly this is a national tragedy. We have just been informed that more succumbed to injuries in hospitals. The total number is now 111," Interior Minister George Saitoti said.
Bodies burnt beyond recognition were still strewn across the road as emergency services struggled to cope with the number of casualties.