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A massive fire on Saturday destroyed the medical stores in the central Mozambican province of Manica, located in the provincial capital Chimoio.
The fire broke out at around 15.00 in the building’s loading and unloading area, and spread rapidly into the interior of the warehouse, where it devoured large amounts of medicines and of medical and surgical material stored there.
People living nearby ran into the stores and managed to rescue some boxes of medicines. But the authorities fear that the bulk of the material was destroyed.
The Manica provincial health director, Juvenaldo Amos, was unable to put any figure on the losses caused by the blaze. He said the stores were full of medical supplies, since a consignment of medicines for the entire province for the next six months had recently been received.
“Everything was destroyed by the fire, as you can see”, he told reporters. “All we can do now is calculate the damage and ascertain the cause of the fire”.
Manica Provincial Governor Alberto Mondlane joined in the attempts to save at least some medicines from the flames. He thanked all those who had gone into the burning building, attempting to minimize the damage, and stop it spreading to neighbouring houses.
“This medicine that is burning belongs to the province, it belongs to the people”, he said. “So we came here to help. We shall work to see what really happened, and we shall inform you in due time”.
The fire brigade turned up late, much to the annoyance of local residents. When journalists attempted to question a fire brigade officer, he turned his back on them and walked away. The equipment of the fire brigade proved insufficient to deal with the blaze, and so a fire truck from Chimoio airport was called in to provide assistance.
The fire was not brought under control until 22.00. The causes of the blaze are not yet confirmed, but it is suspected that a short circuit occurred in the electrical system of the stores.Source: AIM