Death Toll from Tanzanian Sugar Factory Explosion Rises to 13

The number of fatalities from the sugar factory explosion in eastern Tanzania has increased from 11 on Thursday to 13 on Friday, according to a local medical official.

George Dilunga, head of the Emergency Department at Benjamin Mkapa Hospital, reported that the death toll rose after two Tanzanian nationals succumbed to their injuries while receiving specialized care at the hospital in Dodoma, the capital.

“Doctors worked tirelessly to save their lives, but unfortunately, their efforts were not successful,” Dilunga told Xinhua.

The explosion occurred early Thursday 23rd at the Mtibwa sugar factory in the Morogoro Region. The blast initially claimed the lives of three foreign nationals from Brazil, Kenya, and India, along with eight Tanzanian technicians.

Shaban Marujugo, Morogoro Regional Fire and Rescue Commander, stated that the explosion struck the control room where technicians were testing a newly installed heating system for sugar production.

Juma Ramadhan Palamba, an electrician at the factory, explained that the incident was caused by a pipe bursting, which released steam into a boiler. Palamba avoided injury as he had stepped out of the control room to take a phone call when the explosion occurred.

In response to the incident, Morogoro Regional Commissioner Adam Malima ordered a three-day shutdown of the factory to allow the Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force to investigate the cause of the explosion.

Following the accident, Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade Ashatu Kijaji and Minister of Agriculture Hussein Bashe visited the site and assured that the government would support efforts to repair the damage.

Kijaji mentioned that the government is coordinating with the embassies of the deceased foreign technicians to arrange their funerals, with the sugar factory management offering to cover the funeral expenses.

Photo credit: Daily News Tanzania