Asia-Pacific

Burma oil pipeline fire kills at least 12

Map of Burma

At least 12 people are thought to have been killed and up to 80 have been injured after oil leaking from a pipeline in Burma caught fire.

Some reports say the fire started as local people tried to collect oil from the leaking pipeline near the town of Pakokku, in the central Magway region.

Officials said many people had been taken to hospital and the number of dead was expected to rise.

The area is at the centre of Burma's onshore oil industry.

Residents - speaking anonymously to the Associated Press news agency - said there was a huge explosion when a villager struck a match to see how much oil had been collected in drums near the pipeline.

The BBC's Asia correspondent Alastair Leithead says Burma is rich in natural resources, including gas and oil, both inland and off the coast.

But he says little of the revenue is spent on those most in need - a third of the population live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

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