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Death Toll From Tanker Fire In Pakistan Rises To 157


The scene of the tanker fire near Bahawalpur in Pakistan

Pakistan's prime minister cut short a trip abroad to rush to the side of victims of a massive fuel tanker fire as authorities on June 26 raised the death toll to 157.

The truck, carrying some 25,000 liters of gasoline, overturned on a highway outside Bahawalpur in southwest Pakistan on June 25, prompting scores of villagers to rush to the scene to collect the spilled fuel. When a fire broke out, the villagers were engulfed in flames, many burned beyond recognition.

Dr. Nahid Ahmed at the Nishter Hospital in Multan told AP that four of the victims that were brought from Bahawalpur had died overnight, bringing the death toll to 157.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who visited the Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur on June 26, ordered that more of those most critically hurt be transferred to bigger hospitals in the area.

Sharif cut short his trip to London, rushed back home, and announced 2 million rupees -- almost $20,000 -- as financial assistance for each family who lost someone in the highway inferno.

"This is not compensation -- no compensation is possible for precious human life -- but it is to help the affected families in distress," Sharif said.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters
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