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Government gives update on Embakasi fire tragedy & costly blunders

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir and his Interior counterpart Prof. Kithure Kindiki released a join statement on the tragedy

The aftermath of the Embakasi fire tragedy

The government has given an update on the Embakasi fire tragedy, including what resulted in the explosion and fire at the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant that was operating illegally.

A joint statement released by Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir and his Interior counterpart Prof. Kithure Kindiki revealed the tragedy was caused by incorrect refilling of the cylinders.

“Preliminary findings indicate that on the fateful night, the refilling of LPG cylinders was done using direct manifold connections to the LPG tanker increasing the risk of leakage and explosion,” read the statement.

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The statement further revealed that the plant was operating illegally with three previous applications to construct it declined by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

Illegal operations and controversial history

It has since emerged that the plant in question was demolished twice by EPRA with the owners charged in court.

“Twice, in March 2020 and January 2021, the plant that was illegally constructed at the said location was demolished by EPRA and the operators charged in Court,” read the statement.

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The statement also added that the government will demolish all illegal gas storage and filling plants across the country.

A risk assessment exercise for all LPG plants to ensure compliance will also be conducted with operators found to be filling cylinders illegally facing punishment.

Kenya Red Cross that is part of a multi-agency team that responded to the tragedy placed the number of those missing at 15.

“We have 6 male adults, three female adults and four minors.” Kenya Red Cross’ Patience Gitonga told the press.

She also appealed to well-wishers and other actors to donate food and non-food items to address the situation.

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The Nairobi County Government settled those left homeless by the tragedy at the Embakasi Social Hall with the Kenya Red Cross society placing the number of those accommodate at the facility at 60 as at Friday 9PM.

Journalists who attempted to access the Embakasi Social Hall were barred by ward administrators who did not explain their reasons.

The explosion left 280 injured in hospitals around the city with serious burns. Three deaths have so far been reported.

While responding to the tragedy, Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS), set up three blood donation and transfusion centres in Nairobi to help victims.

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The centres are at the Mama Lucy Hospital, Nairobi Region Blood Transfusion Centre (RBTC), and the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Helipad Square.

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