Dying for Oil: Dangers Ignored As Poor Scramble for Fuel

Over 220 people died and almost 200 were injured when an oil tanker truck overturned and exploded in a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday. Witnesses reported that many were killed when they tried to siphon up the spilled fuel. James Reynolds of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Congo, said: “Many of the bodies were burnt far beyond recognition. It’s a terrible scene,” and a tragedy, he added, “for people who didn’t have very much to begin with.” It’s estimated that over a quarter of the victims were children.

The tanker overturned and the leaking fuel caught fire; the inferno raced through the village and engulfed makeshift theaters where many had gathered to watch the World Cup.  The driver was injured but survived the accident.

Local hospitals were quickly overcome by many of the survivors with terrible burn injuries. In this report from the accident and explosion, a UN spokesman acknowledged of the wounded evacuees “We are doing our best…unfortunately there is no burn unit” anywhere near the village.

Bad roads, crowded villages and extreme poverty combine to deadly effect; while the scale of this accident was particularly horrific, similar incidents occur all too frequently as desperately poor people ignore the danger in order to gather fuel in flimsy plastic containers.  Last Friday 13 people were killed in a similar accident with a tanker truck in Nigeria. A blaze from a fuel spill killed 70 people in Nigeria last October.  In October 1998, a pipeline explosion killed over 1,000 people in southeastern Nigeria’ as people tried to steal oil. Three similar accidents in Nigeria In 2000 and 2006 killed a total of nearly 600 people.

Bodies from Congo oil tanker disaster
Image: Al Jazeera English footage via Youtube


Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


Michel P.
Past Member 7 years ago

how many tragedy's will it take

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G7 years ago

Such a heartbreaking story. The amount of pain those poor people are now in from losing loved ones and those horrific burns. It's devastating!

Emily P.
Emily P7 years ago

That is just heartbreaking. To be burned is such an horrific and painful thing, and my prayers go out to all the injured.

Robin T.
R T7 years ago

A terrible tradgedy.
What on earth happened that a tanker travelling through a village over turns?

Sean K.
Sean K7 years ago

Trying to understand how these individuals start to begin to collect any and all resources needed to sustain an suitable living scenario, is due to the desire to produce each owns personal dreams of simple self sustaining conditions.

This is an equal service that all of Life's creations is entitled to, and should be given to for the purpose of individual expression of its own beliefs to care for and manifest their own ideas, truths, and expressions of Life.
The only sad part about this would be if no one person knew about these tragedies happening around the world.
So by allowing the freedom to share this experience with all, I believe it will, and shall raise the neccessary collective consciousness to create appropiate living conditions for all inhabitants that inherit this wonderful planet.
So I also ask for those who read this post, to see it for what it really is, an eye opening story to the conditions of others less fortunate than us, here in our great country.
Creative collective consciousness is the path to evolution, weave it into your conscious, then see for yourself, just how beautiful all really can be, and is if you look with eyes of the Creator we all are.

Melissa B.
Melissa B7 years ago


Jeanie Johnson
Jeanie Johnson7 years ago

The global oil culture is killing life. Everywhere. All the time.

Salome Waters
Salome Waters7 years ago

So many of North Americans think nothing of paying $4.00 for a mocha latte. That is poverty, to die for fuel. To BURN for a little fuel. Children so desperate to help their families.

So swear, please swear. Foster a child through Plan.

Jami Winn
Jami Winn7 years ago

it shows you just how broke all working Americans are