SA embassy to help blast victims

2012-03-12 12:42
Johannesburg - The South African embassy in the Republic of Congo is ready to help South Africans affected by the recent munitions dump blasts in Brazzaville, the international relations and co-operations department said on Monday.

"The mission is assisting every South African who needs to come back home as in any country with a disaster of this magnitude," said spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

South Africans can approach the embassy if they need consular assistance after the blasts in the munitions dump on March 4, which killed over 200 people.

An electrical short circuit and fire at the dump, situated close to houses and schools, was powerful enough to destroy nearby buildings.

South African-based organisation Gift of the Givers said the thousands who were wounded sustained severe burns, and major trauma. Some had to have amputations.

"Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, represents a war zone with thousands of homes, businesses and two churches destroyed," according to a statement posted on the charity's Facebook page.

‘Walls caved in, roof collapsed’

Windows shattered four kilometres away and people were trapped under rubble. An initial aid package including tents, blankets, food, water, medicines, surgical supplies and new clothing was being organised by Gift of the Givers.

A team of rescuers and medical trauma experts would accompany the organisation to the site.

The Star reported that South African Judith Obambe had to flee her home with her daughters Genevieh, Kay-Lynne and Shawneleih.

"First the walls caved in around us. Then the roof collapsed," Obambe told the newspaper.

People were running in the streets screaming "bomb, bomb" and a man on a military bike warned them to run. When they returned to their home it had been destroyed.

They would go back to Cape Town while Obambe's husband Fulgence and their daughter Shawneleih will remain in Brazzaville to rebuild their life.

Associated Press reported that only 159 of the bodies were ready for a mass funeral on Sunday.

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