Tuesday, 9 October 2012

30 vehicles burnt in Zambian inferno

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At least 36 vehicles were burnt to ashes when a  fire swept through a rented car park in one of the Zambian capital Lusaka's sprawling townships, a police spokesperson said Tuesday.

The inferno swept through a private rented car park in Kanyama Township in the early hours of Monday, reducing the vehicles, mostly public minibuses to rubble, Zambia Police Spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela said in a statement emailed to Xinhua. The cause of the fire and the value of the vehicles has not yet been established, she added. She however said police have launched investigations.  Among the vehicles destroyed included 30 public minibuses and six private cars. A supervisor of the car park told local media that the fire could have been caused by an electric short circuit on one of the vehicles. Kamoto Phiri told Radio Phoenix that the incident is a disaster because hundreds of people were earning a living through the transport business.

Private car parks have mushroomed in Zambia since the liberalization of the transport sector in the 1990s which has seen an influx of not only public minibuses but taxis as well.  The Lusaka City Council (LCC) has expressed concern at the incident and has attributed this to the mushrooming of illegal car parks in the city.  LCC Spokesperson Henry Kapata told Xinhua that people are coming up with car parks without getting clearance from the city authorities. "What is supposed to happen is that before anybody opens a car park, they are supposed to get permission from the council for a business permit. The local authority is supposed to first inspect the premise to ensure that all the required standards are there," he said. According to figures from the local authority, there are about 290 car parks in the city and only three are legally registered.
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 And Kenyan Airways has regretted the disruption of its flights last week after the airline's pilots withdrew "goodwill" that requires them to work voluntarily for certain hours outside their normal schedules, the Post of Zambia reported on Tuesday.

Last Friday, Kenyan Airways passengers were stranded at two of Zambia's international airports due to disruptions. Kenya Airways Manager in Zambia Rose Kiseli said the airline regretted the interruption and has assured customers that the airline has resumed its normal operations. "We wish to regret the interruption of our operations which inconvenienced our esteemed customers. However following the fruitful meeting between our management and the pilot union, the matter was resolved and we have resumed our normal operations," she was quoted as saying. "Goodwill" is an arrangement by pilot to be available for voluntary work for certain hours during their time off work but within legal limits as approved by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the Post said.  (Xinhua)

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