(CNN)The death toll of a massive tanker explosion in eastern Pakistan last month has reached 207, said Khawaja Salman Rafique, the Health Minister of Punjab province.
Death toll in Pakistan tanker explosion passes 200
The truck, carrying 25,000 liters of fuel, crashed around Bahawalpur after veering off the road on June 25, along the 1,300 kilometer journey from the capital of Karachi to Lahore.
Within minutes, villagers assembled by the vehicle to collect leaking fuel. As crowds gathered, the truck caught fire and exploded, with flames engulfing hundreds of people.
An early death toll was reported at 153, but injuries have claimed over 50 more lives since the incident.
Residents did not heed cautions from the driver or highway police, who advised them to stay far from the wrecked vehicle, authorities told state agency Associated Press of Pakistan.
Oil is scarce and expensive but necessary for cooking, so it was highly coveted by those who flocked to collect it.
Shortly after the accident, Nishtar Hospital reported more than 100 injured, while Bahawal Victoria Hospital said it was treating 40 victims who endured burns on at least 70% of their bodies.
The cause of the explosion is unknown, but there is speculation that it could have been sparked by villagers' cigarettes or batteries inside the truck.
Initially after the explosion, provincial officials declared a state of emergency in the region, but citizens were unsatisfied with further government response.
The nation's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif "expressed deep grief over the heavy loss of life," and cut short a trip to London to return home.