An explosion in a pipeline in Mexico, which he left behind 85 dead and 66 wounded, He renewed his focus on the strategy of the country's president to stop the theft of gasoline, while the relatives of the victims said that the lack of liquid was what led them to risk their lives.
Last Friday night, The Tula-Tuxpan pipeline underwent illegal drilling. According to the authorities, around 800 people arrived in the area to fill the gas and plastic gallons after the leak, but hours later it was a fatal explosion.
The health secretary, Jorge Alcocer, reported yesterday that 79 people died from the accident and that another 66 people were hospitalized, many of them severely burned.
Several residents of the municipality of Tlahuelilpan, in the central state of Hidalgo, have said that their relatives They had struggled to find fuel and went there because they were desperate to fill the tanks of their vehicles.
"Many innocents arrived, maybe their car did not have enough fuel, and they said they would take only a few liters," said farmer Isidoro Velasco, 51, who yesterday was waiting for news of his nephew.
At the end of last month, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador launched an offensive against the theft of gasoline, which led to losses of about 3,000 million dollars in 2017 for the state-owned company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
The plan, which consists in closing these pipelines to prevent looting and distributing them across the country through oil tankers, caused a widespread shortage in several states in the country, including Hidalgo.
Despite the disaster, López Obrador said his decision to fight the theft had not weakened.
"Let me be clear that I will not take a step back," the president said yesterday. "I offer nothing but excuses to people if this action causes sacrifice, damage, inconvenience, but we must do it," he added.
Lopez Obrador said he expects the supply to normalize next week across the country, as Mexico buys more oil tankers for road distribution.
Let me be clear that I will not take a step back.
Most of the Tlahuelilpan service stations were operating normally yesterday after being closed last Saturday after the deadly explosion.
But the perforation and the extraction of illegally made petrol, which is not a new activity, increases the chances of a catastrophe like the one that occurred in Hidalgo.
"Two new elements are now under discussion, one of which, which has not been addressed, is the risk that people doing this type of illegal activity have, in addition to environmental implications," said Gerardo, national director of Energy and Civil Engineering at the University of the Valle del México. of Alba Mora.
"There was a lot of talk about the economic implications of this theft of petrol and the inconvenience of citizens, without taking into account the dangers of this mode", explains Alba Mora.
Surveys show that the measure has so far enjoyed widespread popular support, despite the difficulties and long queues at service stations.
However, the Tlahuelilpan disaster generated a new control of the strategy. López Obrador has faced repeated questions about the tragedy, asking for this explain why the soldiers deployed to protect the pipeline did not remove the victims and how quickly the supply was stopped after Pemex detected the loss.
The general director of the state oil company, Octavio Romero, said on Saturday that a valve was closed in the pipeline after a pressure drop due to the leak detected. However, fuel continued to sprout before it exploded, with no visible loss of pressure.
López Obrador said that the attorney general's office will examine whether the valve was closed on time. Even if it had been closed over time, the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of high-octane gasoline was found in the tube section between the Tula refinery and the explosion scene.
On the other hand, the Secretary of Defense and López Obrador said that there were only 25 soldiers in the area and that the Army did not want to repress the crowd.
Critics say this the authorities should have been stronger in controlling people and sealing the area, and they should have asked for reinforcements.
"Part of the fault lies with the people (in the broken pipeline), but the biggest blame lies with the authorities who left them (steal the fuel) knowing that it was dangerous," said the farmer Velasco.
According to López Obrador, the soldiers warned the villagers not to get too close, but the crowd was unaware of the potential danger. "They did the right thing, what they should have done in a situation like the one presented, but there was no awareness of the risk involved," he concluded.
Reuters – EFE