76 people killed in boat accident in Nigeria

76 people killed in boat accident in Nigeria


Almost everyone on board a boat died when it capsized in a flood-swollen river in Nigeria’s Anambra state, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday.

An estimated 85 people took the overloaded boat on Friday when it overturned due to Niger floods.

“The boat, which was reportedly carrying 85 people, capsized after rising floods in the state’s Ogbaru area, with emergency services confirming a death toll of 76,” Buhari’s office was quoted as saying.

He instructed the emergency services to provide assistance to the victims.

“I pray for the rest of the souls of those who have died and for the safety of all and the well-being of the family members of the victims of this tragic accident,” he added.

Earlier Sunday, emergency services said rising water levels had hampered rescue efforts.

“The water level is very high and too risky for a smooth search and rescue operation,” Thickman Tanimu, the Southeast Coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told AFP.

He said the floods were the worst the country had seen in years, with water levels about a tenth higher than a decade ago.

NEMA requested the Nigerian Air Force to provide helicopters for the rescue operation.

Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo urged residents of the flood-ravaged areas to relocate, adding that the government will provide assistance to those affected by the disaster.

“This development still comes as a shock to the government and the good people of Anambra State. I have sympathy for the families of those affected,” Soludo said in a statement.

Boat accidents are a regular occurrence in Nigeria due to overloading, speeding, poor maintenance and disregard for navigation rules.

Since the beginning of the rainy season, many regions of the West African country of more than 200 million inhabitants have been hit by floods.

More than 300 people were killed and at least 100,000 were left homeless, according to emergency services.

The persistent rain has washed away farmland and crops, raising fears of food shortages, starvation and starvation in a country already grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

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