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May 7, 10

NEWS / UN blue helmets assist locals in DR Congo after boat capsizes, killing dozens

6 May 2010 – United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are helping residents in the eastern province of Maniema to cross the Congo River after a traditional wooden boat carrying up to 120 people capsized, killing dozens of passengers.

“So far, 42 people have survived. Out of those, 16 are hospitalized. Between 60 and 80 people are missing,” Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesperson for the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), told the UN News Centre.

As the search for more survivors continues, local authorities and MONUC have worked together to get a ferry running back and forth over the river.

“MONUC has provided 80 litres of fuel and is going to give another 120 litres of fuel to operate the ferry,” Mr. Mounoubai said.

Fearing more possible incidents from overcrowding, authorities yesterday prohibited the use of the traditional boats to cross the river.

With neglected roads and railways, boats are the main way of traversing the vast African country which is emerging from years of instability and civil unrest.

This is the second boat-related emergency that peacekeepers in the country have assisted with in the past month. MONUC peacekeepers rescued 25 passengers stranded on Lake Kivu in early April after a ferry boat they had boarded ran aground on rocks. There were no injuries in that incident.




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