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Over 100 feared dead from Kenyan oil explosion

(Xinhua)

08:41, September 13, 2011

NAIROBI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- At least 100 Kenyans are feared dead in a huge explosion that occurred in a slum village near the Kenya Pipeline Company depot off Kunga Lunga road in Nairobi's Industrial Area on Monday.

However, the police confirmed 53 deaths and said those injured have been rushed to various hospitals with severe burns for treatment. "So far we have counted 53 bodies but counting is still going on. We fear the death toll could rise further since there are still many bodies yet to be counted," the local police chief who did not want to be named told Xinhua by telephone.

The police have asked motorists to avoid the area while major roads leading to the busy industrial area have been closed to allow rescue efforts.

The explosion happened after an underground oil pipeline burst and spilled to the nearby Sinai slum near the fuel depot in Nairobi's Industrial Area.

The fire is said to have broken out after a pipeline burst. Rescue efforts are ongoing.

A Kenya Power official who did not want to be named told Xinhua the death toll is likely to increase, saying he had so far counted near 100 badly burned bodies. He said the explosions along the pipeline were caused when residents who from the sprawling slum rushed to siphoned oil. "I have counted more than 80 badly burnt bodies so far. The fire started when the slum dwellers tried to siphon fuel from the leaking pipe," the official said.

Rescues are battling the fire that has engulfed the near by Sinai slums.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by lack of access roads to the sprawling slum. Kunga Lunga road has also been closed and residents in the nearby buildings evacuated.

Fire fighters had a difficult time accessing the scene of the tragedy and there were fears scores of other people injured could increase.

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