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The deaths of over 130 people in two terrible accidents in the last few days have left Kenya in mourning. The tragedies — a fire in a busy downtown supermarket in the capital, Nairobi, and another when an overturned oil tanker burst into flames — have left Kenyans angry with a government that they say is not providing the basic services needed to protect its people.
Kenya's coalition government has called off official functions and flags are flying at half-mast but this is scant compensation for the families of the dead who complain of Kenya's poor infrastructure and slow disaster response that allowed the accidents to happen and to be so deadly.
The worst of the two accidents happened at night over the weekend and left 106 people charred beyond recognition and hundreds more injured near the town of Molo. Poor rural folk for ahom the cost of fuel is prohibitive had rushed to collect the spillage from a crashed tanker when it burst into flames engulfing the crowd.
This kind of accident is rare in East Africa, but less so in Nigeria where literally thousands of poor people have died collecting leaking oil from broken pipes and crashed tankers in the last decade. In the worst accident to date 1,000 died when a pipeline exploded in the Niger Delta in 1998.