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Vulnerable Dar in tears

18th February 2011
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  20 people killed, more than 300 injured
  President appeals for calm, says National Security council would issue statement
  PM outlines extent of damage at military base
Internally displaced children from around the Gongo la Mboto bomb blast site are taken care at Uhuru Stadium in Temeke, Dar es Salaam, as captured by our photographer yesterday.

At least 20 people have been confirmed dead and over 300 injured following the explosion at Tanzania People’s Defence Forces depot at Gongo la Mboto in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday night.

The bombs which exploded in quick succession, lighting up the skies over Dar on Wednesday night, caused panic, chaos and deaths among city dwellers fleeing for their lives.

According to the reports from Dar es Salaam and Coast Region hospitals, some of the people were killed by the explosions, while others died from high blood pressure.

Muhimbili National Hospital Public Relations Officer, Aminiel Aligaesha said the hospital received 18 dead bodies, five of which were brought at the hospital on Wednesday, while 13 were received from Amana Hospital yesterday.

He said of the 18 dead bodies, 11 were men and seven women. Aligaesha disclosed that 80 injured people were received at Muhimbili Hospital, 44 of whom were referred to Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) while 18 were admitted at the hospital and the remaining 18 were treated and discharged.

MOI spokesperson Jumaa Almasi said 45 patients were received at the hospital, but 10 were discharged after treatment. The remaining 35 were admitted at the hospital.

Almas explained that among the 35 under treatment, Saida Rajabu lost her left hand in the explosions. One patient was under the Intensive Care Unit and 12 others were operated on, with six others in the waiting list for surgeries.

At Amana Hospital, Grace Maghembe who is the Acting Chief Medical Officer said 13 dead bodies were received and a total of 176 patients were brought to the hospital for treatment.

Maghembe noted that the dead bodies were sent to Muhimbili Hospital and 35 patients referred to the same hospital for further treatment.

She said there were only 15 patients at the hospital.

A total of 10 casualties were received at Kisarawe Hospital, three of whom were referred to Muhimbili National hospital due to lack of electricity for x-ray.

The Hospital Acting Chief Medical Officer, Rahim Hangai said a woman identified as Salma Ngare (33) was brought to the hospital while already dead. Hangai said there were only four patients remaining at the hospital.

Some patients interviewed said they became victims of the explosion in the course of saving their lives.

Time Ramadhani, a Pugu Primary school pupil who is admitted at Kisarawe hospital said the explosion caused her to suffer blood pressure causing her fail to run. “Thank God, the ambulance rescued me and rushed to the hospital, ” Time said.

Lina Ngalingali a petty trader at Kigogo said she broke her leg when fleeing with her three children. “When running away, a bomb exploded in front of us, but luckily we did not get injured,” she said.

Another resident named Saida Rajabu who was admitted at MOI said that they were being well attended at the hospital.

Contacted, a teacher of Mzinga High School in Ukonga said following the blasts, students had fled in all directions and that he could not immediately account for them, promising to do so today.

TPDF Spokesman Lt. Kapambala Mgawe told journalists that the bombs which exploded started in one of the arsenals and spread to others in rapid succession, setting off a major fire.

He said in two hours the situation worsened causing panic among people living near the base who fled in different directions in a bid to save their lives.

Mgawe said the last bomb exploded yesterday morning at around 4am damaging six military vehicles.

He said the barracks had been cordoned off because there were bomb remains which needed to be defused by experts.

Lt. Mgawe said no military officer died in the incident and only one was injured assuring the public that no more bombs would explode.

Lt. Mgawe warned the residents not to pick any kind of material related to bombs instead, to wait for professional military officers to collect them for their safety.

At least 4,000 displaced people, including children, have sought shelter at the Uhuru Stadium in Chang’ombe. This paper observed some city dwellers boarding the garbage collection vehicles to different destinations following the transport problem hit which the commercial hub yesterday.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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