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March 29, 2014

Congolese refugee death toll climbs

Congolese refugee death toll climbs – Wikinews, the free news source

Congolese refugee death toll climbs

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Other stories from the DRC
  • 29 March 2014: Congolese refugee death toll climbs
  • 18 March 2012: FA Cup game abandoned after Fabrice Muamba collapses on pitch
  • 27 June 2011: Funeral held for former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba
  • 5 May 2011: DR Congo transport minister sacked after numerous boat accidents
  • 18 October 2010: ‘Enough, enough, enough, enough’: 1700 women march against mass rape in DR Congo
…More articles here
Location of Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government has confirmed that at least 251 Congolese refugees died after their boat capsized on Lake Albert on Saturday, en-route from Uganda.

NASA satellite image of Lake Albert showing the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda
Image: Slawojar.

Spokesman for the government, Lambert Mende, made the statement on Thursday: “It is with deep sorrow that we confirm the death of 251 of our compatriots who had boarded the boat from the Ugandan side of Lake Albert”.

Cquote1.svg It is with deep sorrow that we confirm the death of 251 of our compatriots who had boarded the boat from the Ugandan side of Lake Albert. Cquote2.svg

Lambert Mende

President Joseph Kabila declared three days of national mourning, which began on Thursday, described by Mende as a display of compassion and solidarity with the people of Congo.

The refugees were reportedly returning to the DRC, leaving Uganda voluntarily.

Mende has claimed this is due to the “poor quality of welcome to which they were subjected,” while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recently recorded an increase in Congolese refugees spontaneously returning to the DRC, following a military victory over rebels in the nation’s east last November.

Tragedy struck the overcrowded vessel, when, as latest reports claim, it was carrying around three hundred people.

Two boats were attempting to cross Lake Albert from the Hoima district on the Ugandan shore.

The waterway is known to be dangerous when the weather is rough, and combined with a lack of life-jackets and a general inability of passengers to swim, incidents like this often lead to high body counts. Days before, a campaign had been launched by the DRC to enforce wearing lifejackets aboard all vessels in the nation’s waterways.

Since Saturday, the death toll has continued to climb, it was initially reported that twenty had died. On Monday, UNHCR received information from authorities that 41 people had been rescued and 98 bodies recovered. This number climbed again by Tuesday – with reports stating 107 had died, including 57 children.

The survivors were taken to the Bundibugyo district, in the north-west of Uganda, where UNHCR and the Ugandan government are providing help, including psycho-social support. Relatives of the deceased are identifying family members at the district hospital.

UNHCR and the Ugandan government are assisting in the transport of the bodies back to the DRC, and have established an information and response point for relatives of the survivors. Julian Paluku, governor of the North Kivu district has said the recovery of bodies will continue.

Reportedly, the refugees had originally fled the DRC after a July 2013 attack on the Kamango region to the east-northeast of the capital, Kinshasa.



Related news

  • “DR Congo transport minister sacked after numerous boat accidents” — Wikinews, May 5, 2011
  • “Up to 140 feared dead as boat sinks in DR Congo” — Wikinews, July 30, 2010
  • Boat in DR Congo capsizes, 80 feared dead” — Wikinews, May 8, 2010

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May 5, 2011

DR Congo transport minister sacked after numerous boat accidents

DR Congo transport minister sacked after numerous boat accidents

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Thursday, May 5, 2011

DR Congo has a high number of fatal boat accidents

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Other stories from the DRC
  • 29 March 2014: Congolese refugee death toll climbs
  • 18 March 2012: FA Cup game abandoned after Fabrice Muamba collapses on pitch
  • 27 June 2011: Funeral held for former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba
  • 5 May 2011: DR Congo transport minister sacked after numerous boat accidents
  • 18 October 2010: ‘Enough, enough, enough, enough’: 1700 women march against mass rape in DR Congo
…More articles here
Location of Democratic Republic of the Congo

A map showing the location of the DRC

To write, edit, start or view other articles on DRC, visit the DRC Portal
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg

Marie-Laure Kawanda, the transport minister for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been sacked by the government after a series of boat accidents in the country. Kawanda was dismissed after a boat sank on Monday while sailing on the Kasai River left around 100 people missing.

A spokesman for the government released a statement saying that Kawanda had failed to “ensure that regulations related to navigation are respected.” Information minister Lambert Mende commented on Ms Kawanda’s sacking, saying, “She should have introduced rules to prevent boats travelling at night and to stop cargo boats from carrying passengers. We don’t have the exact number [of victims] but we think it is probably considerably higher than what has already been reported.”

He added that the government will be paying for the funerals of the victims.

Fatal boat accidents are a common occurrence in DR Congo. On the same river where Monday’s accident happened, up to 200 people died last year when a boat capsized. According to the Red Cross, 40 people died when an overcrowded boat sank on Lake Kivu last week.



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July 30, 2010

Up to 140 feared dead as boat sinks in DR Congo

Up to 140 feared dead as boat sinks in DR Congo

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Other stories from the DRC
…More articles here
Location of Democratic Republic of the Congo

A map showing the location of the DRC

To write, edit, start or view other articles on DRC, visit the DRC Portal
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg
Kasai river from above
Image: NASA.
Bandundu province is in the west of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Image: Morwen / Wikipedia.

Friday, July 30, 2010

As many as 140 people are feared dead after a boat sank on the Kasai River, a tributary of the Congo River, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The central African country, of equivalent size to western Europe, has very poor road infrastructure, meaning that many people travel on boats, which are often overloaded. The boat involved in the accident was travelling to the capital city, Kinshasa, from the town of Mushie. The accident occurred in the province of Bandundu, approximately 30 km (20 miles) from the provincial capital, where officials reportedly held a crisis meeting to deal with the incident.

The boat is believed to have been overweight, carrying at least 180 passengers as well as goods. It is the dry season in the Congo, so the river is shallow. The sinking was reportedly the result of hitting a mud bank, causing the vessel to capsize.

Lambert Mende, the Congolese information minister, said in a statement that at least 80 people had been confirmed dead while 76 were thought to have survived. However, the local police later announced a provisional death toll of 138, and possibly more.

Safety standards are poor in the Democratic Republic, with overcrowding common on boats, which often do not carry lifejackets and are forced to navigate poorly marked waterways, meaning that fatal accidents are not uncommon in the country.


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Kasai River disaster
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