Sheeting covers the
bodies of victims of
the oil pipeline fire
and explosion on the
outskirts of Nairobi
 
Nairobi, Kenya — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 13 September 2011 – At least 53 people died when the Nairobi-Mombasa oil pipeline operated by the Kenya Pipeline Company spilled fuel into a slum in eastern Nairobi, causing an explosion, according to police and ambulance officials.

More than 100 people may have died in the blast that occurred at Mukuru, about 11km east of the city centre, St. John’s Ambulance spokesman Fred Majiwa said in a phone interview here.

“I was at Kenyatta Hospital myself and am able to confirm seven are dead,” Majiwa said. “At the scene of the explosion, we were represented by one of our workers and it was confirmed to me it could be more than 100. Some of them are burned beyond recognition.”

“Kenyan police are working to ascertain the death toll,” spokesman Eric Kiraithe said. “I have spoken to an officer on the ground and he has told me they have confirmed 53 dead,” Kiraithe said by phone from Nairobi. “There is not much more he can say because they are struggling with the situation.”

“The explosion occurred after petroleum products spilled from a pipeline that runs through Mukuru into a storm drain,” Kenya Pipeline said in a statement read over the phone by Kasuja Onyonyi, a spokesman for the company. “The pipeline, which links Nairobi to the port of Mombasa, was shut down after the spillage was detected,” he said.

As Prime Minister Raila Odinga visited the scene of the incident, rescue workers attended to burn victims, while some residents screamed their demands for the government to compensate them.

Kenya Pipeline said it had yet to establish the death toll, the number of people injured and the value of property destroyed in the incident.