Yaoundé train explosion

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The Yaoundé train explosion was the catastrophic fire following the derailment and collision of two tanker trains hauling fuel oil through the capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé. At least 200 people were killed in the accident, which happened on February 14, 1998. [1]

Cameroon republic in West Africa

Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although Cameroon is not an ECOWAS member state, it geographically and historically is in West Africa with the Southern Cameroons which now form her Northwest and Southwest Regions having a strong West African history. The country is sometimes identified as West African and other times as Central African due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West and Central Africa.

Yaoundé Place in Mfoundi, Centre

Yaoundé is the capital of Cameroon and, with a population of more than 2.8 million, the second-largest city in the country after the port city Douala. It lies in the Centre Region of the nation at an elevation of about 750 metres (2,500 ft) above sea level.

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The train was a regular industrial transportation service running from Cameroon's oil fields along the Nigerian border to the capital Yaoundé, where it would either be processed at the Myvole plant, or shipped directly to the coast for exportation.[ citation needed ] As it entered Yaoundé's suburbs in the mid-morning, it collided with another freight train heading south, and derailed. [2] The tanker carriages were ruptured, and fuel oil began to spill.

An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance that is a viscous liquid at ambient temperatures and is both hydrophobic and lipophilic. Oils have a high carbon and hydrogen content and are usually flammable and surface active.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

The Federal Republic of Nigeria, commonly referred to as Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja is located. Nigeria is officially a democratic secular country.

A large number of local people and passing taxi drivers stopped to collect the fuel oil in containers, which they could then sell on for a bit of extra money, when the disaster occurred. [3] Apparently, one of the persons collecting fuel was smoking, and dropped a cigarette, creating a flash fire, which travelled right back to the wrecked tankers, creating a massive fireball, which engulfed bystanders and persons collecting fuel. [4]

A flash fire is a sudden, intense fire caused by ignition of a mixture of air and a dispersed flammable substance such as a solid, flammable or combustible liquid, or a flammable gas. It is characterized by high temperature, short duration, and a rapidly moving flame front.

The emergency services arrived on the scene soon after the blaze started, but were for a long time held back by the force of the flames, which they were only able to contain, not extinguish.[ citation needed ] The fire did not stop burning for at least a day, and there were fears it might spread to the nearby central petroleum depot at Nsiam, although this was avoided. For days, a column of black smoke hung over the area of the blast. [3]

Authorities were unable to give an exact number of casualties, [5] but the final number of confirmed dead was over 200 people. [1] At least 150 people were at some time after the accident hospitalized after suffering burns. [5] Railway services to the south of the country were cut off dealing another blow to Cameroon's oil industry, following a series of border skirmishes with Nigerian troops over control of the area two years previously. [3]

Former colonial rulers France sent numerous types of aid to Cameroon following the disaster, including several prestigious medical burns specialists, as well as financial and technical help.[ citation needed ] The cause of the crash is not known, but may have had something to do with poor equipment and maintenance on the rail system due to Cameroon's endemic corruption.[ citation needed ] Cameroon was labelled "most corrupt nation 1998" by Transparency International. [6]

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Transparency International e.V. (TI) is an international non-governmental organization which is based in Berlin, Germany, and was founded in 1993. Its nonprofit purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption. It publishes for example the Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perceptions Index. Transparency International has the legal status of a German registered voluntary association (Eingetragener Verein) and serves as an umbrella organization. Its members have grown from a few individuals to more than 100 national chapters which engage in fighting corruption in their home countries. TI confirmed the dis-accreditation of the national chapter of United States of America in 2017.

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References

  1. 1 2 "Chronology of world train disasters". The Guardian . August 2, 1999. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  2. "100 feared dead in fuel explosion". BBC News . February 15, 1998. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 "Train Explosion Kills 120 in Cameroon". BBC News . February 14, 1998. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  4. "100 feared dead in Cameroon Explosion". BBC News . February 15, 1998. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  5. 1 2 "Train Explosion Kills 120 in Cameroon". Danger Ahead. February 14, 1998. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  6. "The Corruption Perceptions Index (1998)". Transparency International. September 22, 1998. Retrieved 24 November 2011.

Coordinates: 3°49′59″N11°30′53″E / 3.83306°N 11.51472°E / 3.83306; 11.51472