Sunday, July 4, 2010


SANGE, Congo (AP) - A tanker truck hauling fuel in rural eastern Congo overturned, began gushing oil and then exploded in a massive fireball that killed about 230 bystanders, officials said Saturday. The explosion occurred late Friday as people from the nearby village of Sange were trying to take fuel from the ruptured truck, a U.N. spokesman said. Some of those killed had been watching the World Cup in roadside shacks. Officials said at least 10 homes were burned. “People are shocked, but everything is calm,” said the governor of South Kivu province, Marcellin Cissambo. “It’s a huge death toll for such a banal accident.” U.N. peacekeepers rushed to evacuate more than 200 wounded from the scene by helicopter and ambulance, while Red Cross teams carried the charred bodies from the scene in body bags and buried them in mass graves a few miles away. The truck began gushing oil and then burst into flames an hour later. As oil began leaking from the damaged tanker, Pakistani peacekeepers from a nearby U.N. base “came and told people to get away from the area, but people refused to leave,” said a resident.

“Men, women and children, even government soldiers were stealing petrol,” Mwasha said, adding that when night fell, one woman lit a kerosene lamp, which may have ignited the blaze. “It was so terrible,” said Umoja Ruzibira, 25, who heard a huge explosion and saw a fireball engulf thatch huts and a crowded market. “There were so many men, women and children around when it happened.” Desperately poor people in Congo and elsewhere in Africa often descend quickly around damaged or disabled oil trucks or pipelines leaking fuel, carting it away with plastic jugs. In Nigeria, thousands have died as crowd siphoned fuel from ruptured or pierced oil pipelines that subsequently exploded.

Similar accidents occur frequently in Africa because of the deterioration of roads after years of ethnic wars between villages, and because desperately poor people go around damaged oil trucks leaking fuel, carting it away trying unaware of the danger of doing so. Death always lurks at every step and we must surrender to the Lord before this happens.

One who is intelligent understands that there is a great and supreme authority above everything. That great authority appears in different incarnations to save the innocent from disturbances. ... The King of the elephants decided to surrender unto Him. This is intelligent. One must know that great Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him. ... We are always in danger because at any moment death can take place. It is not that only Gajendra, the King of the elephants, was afraid of death. Everyone should fear death because everyone is caught by the crocodile of eternal time and may die at any moment. The best course, therefore, is to seek shelter of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and be saved from the struggle for existence in this material world, in which one repeatedly takes birth and dies. To reach this understanding is the ultimate goal of life.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”
Purport in Canto 8 - Chapter 2 - Verse 33.

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