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At least 12 killed, 65 hurt in explosion at shopping centre in Dominican Republic's San Cristobal

At least 55 people are missing and a total of 65 were hurt, as three buildings collapsed after the blast took place in San Cristobal's Villa Valdez area.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee New Delhi Published on: August 15, 2023 20:33 IST
Fire operations underway in Dominican Republic's San
Image Source : AP Fire operations underway in Dominican Republic's San Cristobal province after an explosion claimed 12 lives.

At least 12 people were killed and over 60 others injured in an explosion in the Dominican Republic, said the Dominican Red Cross in a statement on Tuesday. The explosion occurred near a shopping centre in the area of Villa Valdez in Dominican Republic's San Cristobal province.

Around 55 people are missing and a total of 65 were hurt, as three buildings collapsed after the blast took place, said the Red Cross.  President Luis Abinader expressed his concern for the situation and said he is closely following events, CNN reported.

A four-month-old baby was among the deceased after suffering a head trauma, along with a female bank employee, according to officials. Health Minister Daniel Rivera has asked everyone to wear masks as smoke engulfed the centre of the city.

At least 20 ambulances and 14 firetrucks have been mobilised as part of emergency services in respond to the incident. Rivera said authorities have still not been able to access “ground zero” where the explosion occurred because it was still burning.

Abinader was expected to travel later on Tuesday to the site, where authorities were still trying to extinguish the fire amid collapsed buildings and charred vehicles.

An investigation will be launched to determine whether the site of the explosion was operating under the proper regulations, said Joel Santos, Minister of the Presidency. "Unfortunately, these catastrophes have an order of priority: save lives, save assets, ensure that the incident is extinguished and then assess damage," he said.

San Cristobal is the birthplace of former Dominican Republican dictator Rafael Trujillo, who was responsible for massacring  thousands of Haitians in 1937. Trujillo was assassinated in 1961.

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