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Toll at 87 in Kenyan pipeline explosion

Schoolchildren sat yesterday on the remains of their home, razed by the gasoline pipeline explosion in Nairobi. Schoolchildren sat yesterday on the remains of their home, razed by the gasoline pipeline explosion in Nairobi. (Khalil Senosi/Associated Press)
Associated Press / September 14, 2011

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NAIROBI - The death toll from a gasoline pipeline explosion in the Kenyan capital has risen to 87, a Red Cross official said yesterday, as the Kenyan government declared two days of mourning for the victims of the disaster.

Earlier in the day, residents working with the Red Cross waded through a river filled with sewage, using sticks to poke around for bodies.

Pamela Indiaka, a Red Cross coordinator, said five more people died yesterday in the hospital while undergoing treatment for severe burns, bringing the total number of deaths to 87.

Indiaka said the Red Cross has called off the search-and-recovery mission at the scene of the explosion.

“We don’t see any hope of finding any more bodies and we’ve asked the government to call the navy to see whether they can send in specialized divers to look for bodies that may be stuck in the river,’’ she said.

The Kenya Red Cross has set up a counseling center and tracking desk at a hall where the homeless are staying to help people affected by the fire, said Venant Ndigila, a security manager at the Red Cross.

Mortuary officials are collecting all the bodies before relatives view them to try to spare families the trauma of repeatedly trying to identify badly burned corpses.

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