Death Toll In Madagascar Shipwreck Rises To 64

Madagascar map.


The death toll from a shipwreck off Madagascar’s northeastern coast has risen to at least 64 after 25 more bodies were discovered, maritime authorities said Wednesday.

A wooden vessel, believed to be a cargo ship carrying passengers illegally, sank in the Indian Ocean on Monday with 130 people on board. Five children were among the dead.

Fifty passengers have since been rescued and around 15 remain missing. The search for survivors continues.

READ ALSO: Madagascar Minister Swims 12 Hours To Shore After Helicopter Crash

“Twenty-five bodies were found this morning near Sainte-Marie islands, probably due to sea currents, which brings the death total to 64,” gendarmerie general Zafisambatra Ravoavy told AFP.

Maritime authorities said initial investigations suggested the vessel’s engine had a “technical problem”, leaving the boat vulnerable to tidal forces and causing it to run aground on a reef.

A Malagasy government minister who travelled to the disaster scene swam 12 hours to shore on Tuesday after his helicopter crashed off the island nation’s northeastern coast.


Eight Dead, 20 Missing In DR Congo Shipwreck

DR Congo flag.


At least eight people drowned and 20 others are missing after their motorised canoe broke in two on Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said Friday.

The large lake, straddling the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo with Rwanda, is one of many waterways in constant use in the vast country where roads are often not fit for purpose.

But in changeable weather, with waves slamming the hulls of perilously overloaded wooden boats where safety rules are routinely ignored, shipwrecks often occur at a heavy human and material cost.

The governorate of South Kivu province said there were “eight deaths, 20 missing and 60 people saved” in the accident, which happened on Thursday.

Delphin Birimbi, a local civil society representative, told AFP the old canoe was overloaded and broke in two.

READ ALSO: Congo Bans Weddings In Anti-COVID Move

In 2019, a shipwreck claimed around 100 lives on the lake, prompting President Felix Tshisekedi to make life jackets compulsory for every passenger.

But in the canoes on Lake Kivu, standard orange life jackets are few and far between.

Tshisekedi, who had visited bereaved families, also promised new boats but none have so far materialised.

The head of state also promised the rehabilitation of four ports on the shores of the lake.

Provincial authorities recently welcomed a start to the work in Kalehe.


Five More Bodies Found After Morocco Migrant Shipwreck

Morocco Rejoins African Union


The bodies of five more Moroccans were recovered Monday after their inflatable boat headed for Spain sank off Casablanca, raising the death toll to at least 12, local officials said.

Seven bodies were found hours after the migrant boat sank in the Atlantic on Saturday and three other Moroccans pulled out of the water unconscious were hospitalised.

It was unclear how many people were on the boat, and rescue workers have kept up their search.

Since January, more than 15,000 migrants have reached Spain by sea, according to Spanish authorities.

Many depart from Morocco’s northern Mediterranean coast, just a few dozen kilometres (miles) from the south of Spain, far shorter than the Atlantic route.

But overall arrivals in Spain by sea have decreased significantly this year.

Last year, Moroccan authorities stopped some 89,000 “irregular immigration attempts”, of which 29,000 were by sea, according to official figures.

The European Union committed 140 million euros ($155 million) in 2018 towards managing migration from Morocco.

The migrants come mostly from West African countries, but in the past two years increasing numbers of young Moroccans have tried to leave, driven out by social inequality and high youth unemployment.


Colombia Shipwreck Death Toll Rises To 12

A Venezuelan migrant is pictured in a humanitarian camp in Bogota


The death toll in the capsizing off northwestern Colombia of a boat carrying migrants has risen to at least 12, seven of them children, officials said Thursday.

Another 18 people remain missing after Monday’s tragedy, when a wave upended the boat, leaving its passengers adrift at sea, according to Lilia Cordoba, the mayor of the Colombian coastal town of Acandi.

The migrants, who were trying to reach Panama, were from Africa, the regional human rights ombudsman, Rafael Bolanos, told AFP.

The Colombian navy, with help from police, found five more bodies on Thursday on top of the seven already recovered.

According to survivors, the boat was carrying 32 people — 18 adults and 14 children.

The navy said it was continuing its search and expects to find more bodies.

The Gulf of Uraba, where the boat capsized, is one of the main transit points for African, Asian and Haitian migrants trying to reach the US through the Caribbean, often making stops in Central American countries.

Since the beginning of the year, the Colombian military has rescued 84 shipwreck survivors and recovered 19 bodies.

Seven Killed In Migrant Shipwreck Off Libya

A Libyan coast guardsman stands on a boat during the rescue of 147 illegal immigrants attempting to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, on June 27, 2017. PHOTO: Taha JAWASHI / AFP


At least seven migrants including two children died when their boat ran into trouble Tuesday off the coast of Libya, the coastguard said, the latest victims of the perilous voyage to Europe.

Another 123 migrants were rescued and taken ashore where they will be transferred to a detention centre in the Libyan capital, navy officer Rami Ghommeidh told AFP.

Nearly 180 migrants have died or gone missing since Friday in the Mediterranean, according to figures from the Libyan coastguard.

Conflict-ridden Libya is a key transit point for thousands of African migrants trying to reach European shores.

So far this year more than 1,000 people have died in the Mediterranean, according to International Organization for Migration figures.


Death Toll From Tunisia Migrant Shipwreck Rises To 52

People wait to receive the bodies of loved ones in the Tunisian town of Sfax on June 4, 2018, after more than 50 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean on the previous day, the majority off the coasts of Tunisia and Turkey. PHOTO: SOFIENE HAMDAOUI / AFP


The Tunisian navy has recovered four more corpses from a deadly shipwreck of migrants over the weekend, bringing the official number of victims to 52, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

“The toll is now at 52 corpses recovered, 48 of which have been identified,” ministry spokesman Khalifa Chibani told AFP.

Chibani said the identified bodies belonged to “36 Tunisians and 12 foreigners”, referring to migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

A total of 68 survivors — including 60 Tunisians — have been rescued since search operations began early Sunday off the Mediterranean coast of Tunisia’s southern city of Sfax.

Survivors said there were at least 180 people on board when the overloaded fishing vessel began to sink late Saturday night near Tunisia’s Kerkennah Islands off Sfax.

Search efforts continued Tuesday, with a helicopter flying over the island chain, according to an AFP journalist on site.

Police had deployed across the islands ahead of an anticipated visit later Tuesday by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

On Monday, Chahed called for greater efforts to quickly dismantle the “criminal networks that profit from these young people looking to emigrate and putting their lives in danger”.

Tunisian authorities are hunting for eight suspects, all of whom are from Kerkennah, the interior ministry said.

The shipwreck is the deadliest in the Mediterranean since February 2, when 90 people drowned off the coast of Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration.

On Monday the IOM said “at least 112 people died” in the weekend wreck, with dozens still missing based on survivors’ accounts of passenger numbers.

The Sfax sinking came as Italy’s new hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini visited the Italian island of Sicily — one of the main landing points for migrants attempting to reach Europe from Tunisia and Libya.

Salvini used the trip on Sunday to promote his anti-immigration stance, saying he would not allow Italy to become “the refugee camp” of Europe.

Tunisians and other migrants regularly try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better future in Europe.

In March, 120 people — mostly Tunisians — were rescued by the navy as they tried to reach the Italian coast.


Tunisia Searches For Survivors Of Deadly Shipwreck

An image grab taken from an AFPTV video shows the entrance to the Habib Bourguiba University Hospital in Sfax, eastern Tunisia, to where victims of a migrant shipwreck were transported on June 3, 2018.  Ala SAKKA / AFP


Tunisia’s navy scoured choppy waters Monday for survivors and victims of the Mediterranean’s worst shipwreck in months, with the UN migration agency warning more than 100 people may have been killed.

A total of 68 survivors were rescued Sunday off the coast of Sfax in southern Tunisia, while 48 bodies were recovered according to Tunisia’s defence ministry.

A survivor told AFP that more than 180 people were crammed onto the boat — double its capacity — when it started taking on water and sank.

“The search operation restarted at 4:00 GMT with the help of nine navy units, one helicopter and divers,” Mohammed Salah Sagaama, commander of Sfax’s naval base, told AFP.

Six hours into the search no more bodies had been recovered, he added, saying the search efforts were hampered by strong winds and limited visibility.

A spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, Flavio Di Giacomo, said 60 bodies had been recovered.

The shipwreck is the deadliest in the Mediterranean since February 2, when 90 people drowned off the coast of Libya, according to the IOM.

So far 10 Tunisians have been identified among the victims and 14 people from other African nations.

Crowds gathered in Sfax on Monday as they waited for news of friends and relatives, while others collected coffins containing the bodies of those who had drowned.

A crisis centre was set up following a government meeting led by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, to support victims’ families and survivors.

Young ‘lives in danger’ 

The IOM spokesman said the death toll from the latest disaster could more than double, with around 50 people unaccounted for.

“We have 112 as an estimate of migrants who lost their lives,” Di Giacomo told AFP.

Each passenger on the fishing boat paid between 600 and 1,000 euros ($700-$1,170), he added.

Tunisia’s prime minister called for greater efforts to dismantle “as quickly as possible” the “criminal networks that profit from these young people looking to emigrate and putting their lives in danger”.

Tunisian authorities are hunting for eight suspects, all of whom are from the Kerkennah archipelago close to Sfax, an interior ministry spokesman said.

West African migrants were among the victims and Di Giacomo said the IOM has recently seen an increasing number travelling from Tunisia to Europe.

“Tunisians usually arrive with small boats, carrying no more than 50 migrants; in the past month we have started to see these big boats,” he said.

The Sfax incident came as nine Syrians including seven children drowned on Sunday when their vessel sank off the coast of Turkey as they were trying to reach Europe.

Spanish maritime rescue meanwhile said one person was reported drowned, while 240 migrants were rescued over the weekend.

More than 650 people have been recorded as dead or missing in the Mediterranean so far this year, while at least 33,270 have survived the crossing to Europe.


Nigerian Girls Found Dead In Migrant Ship Drowned, Autopsies Show

migrant ship
File photo of a migrant ship

Post-mortem examinations on the bodies of 26 teenage migrant girls found dead in the Mediterranean in early November confirmed they almost all drowned at sea, Italian news agencies reported Wednesday.

The loss of the girls — believed to be Nigerians aged 14 to 18 — has been described by the Nigerian foreign ministry as “a monumental loss and a sad moment for our country”.

According to the post-mortems carried out in Salerno in southern Italy, 25 of the girls died of asphyxiation in the water, most of them when the inflatable dinghy they were travelling on sank.

One girl suffered a wound to her liver. Two of the dead were pregnant.

The autopsies found no recent trace of physical or sexual violence.

According to the UN, 80 percent of young Nigerian women arriving in Italy are already in the clutches of prostitution networks, or quickly fall under their control.

The bodies of the victims were found floating in the water by a Spanish military ship and brought to Italy on November 3 after two separate rescue operations.

In both cases, dozens of other migrants — mostly men but also women — were also rescued after they tried to cross to Europe from Libya.

Family members who survived the disaster have identified some of the victims. In other cases, investigators managed to contact relatives after discovering phone numbers inside the victims’ clothing.

Funerals for the 26 girls will take place Friday in Salerno, where a day of mourning has been declared.

A white rose will be placed on each coffin, while smaller roses will be placed for the two unborn children.

Nigeria has called for an international investigation into the incident.

According to Italy’s interior ministry, more than 111,700 people have reached the country by sea in the first 10 months of 2017, a decrease of 30 percent from the same period last year.


NEMA Holds 2014 Flood Sensitization Workshop In Awka

People wade through a flood with their belongings after their houses were submerged in the Amassoma community in Bayelsa statePersistent warnings of heavy rains this year, have led to efforts by disaster management authorities to enlighten Nigerians on how to contain the anticipated floods.

The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has begun a workshop on flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness in Awka, Anambra State, South East Nigeria.

The South-East Zonal Director of NEMA, Dr Bamidele Onimode, explained that the measure would enable residents cope effectively with the impact of floods but also highlighted what needs to be done to achieve better management of the expected floods.

“If emergencies are not well taken care of, it will become disaster. A comprehensive disaster management requires concerted efforts of all stakeholders and the financial resources available for disaster management are increasing becoming limited.”

Participants at the workshop, including the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Oseloka Obaze, confirmed that the ideas shared would help raise a risk management consciousness among the people.

“The important thing is that we have an operational basis on which to start and we know what to do and which facilities to look for. Where we need guidance, we’ll get it from NEMA which is quite useful to us here.”