Nigeria – 76 Dead After Overloaded Boat Capsizes

Nigeria’s president says some 85 people were on board when the boat capsized in the country’s flood-devastated southwest.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Sunday that 76 people were dead after a boat capsized in the southeastern part of the country.

An estimated 85 people were on board the overloaded vessel when the accident occurred Friday in an area of Anambra state ravaged by flooding.

What have officials said about the tragedy?

The office of President Buhari quoted him in a statement: “The boat reportedly carrying 85 persons capsized following rising floods in Ogbaru area of the state, with emergency bodies confirming a death toll of 76.”

Buhari was said to direct emergency services to the site.

On Saturday, officials had said 10 people died and 60 were missing. The chief of Anambra State Emergency Management Agency said 15 people had been rescued as of Saturday night.

Nigeria’s rainy season brings devastating floods

Over 300 people in Nigeria have died and 100,000 have lost their homes in recent flooding. Emergency services say it is the country’s worst flooding since 2012.

Anambra is one of the 29 states out of 36 in Nigeria to have experienced flooding so far this year. At least half a million people have been affected due to injury, loss of property or other forms of material wealth, such as livestock and lands.

Such boat accidents occur frequently in Nigeria due to lax safety standards, speeding, overcrowding and limited regard for maritime traffic rules.

Nigeria is struggling to cope with food shortages, famine and hunger brought on by myriad crises resulting from COVID-19 and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Farmlands and crops have also been ravaged by the flooding, placing further stress on the food supply.

ar/nm (AFP, Reuters)

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