Tanzania payout for ferry disaster families

Bereaved families on their way to receive the compensation

Bereaved families on their way to receive the compensation

Tanzania’s government has handed over $54,727 (£41,600) to compensate families of people who died in last week’s ferry accident on Lake Victoria just off the Coast of Ukara Island.

Transport Minister Isaac Kamwele gave a dummy cheque with the amount to local officials.

Earlier in the day, bereaved families boarded a ferry from Bugorora to Ukara to receive their promised compensation.

The money is part of over $200,000 that has been raised so far through contributions from Tanzanians, non-governmental organisations and some religious leaders.

The death toll from Friday’s accident is 227.

Officials say families will receive $437 for every lost relative, the 41 documented survivors and rescue workers will each receive the same payment.

But I have met at least 30 people who said they were survivors who had not been included in the official list.

John Majura told me he went home after swimming to the shore:

Quote Message: I’m one of the survivors, this money collected won’t be enough to pay everyone, because until now, we are divided in two groups, there are those who were injured and came to hospital for treatment, those are the ones being listed, and that’s the 41 we are hearing, but some of us who didn’t sustain any injuries, we dashed home, we were not listed. This is where the confusion comes in.”

 

“I’m one of the survivors, this money collected won’t be enough to pay everyone, because until now, we are divided in two groups, there are those who were injured and came to hospital for treatment, those are the ones being listed, and that’s the 41 we are hearing, but some of us who didn’t sustain any injuries, we dashed home, we were not listed. This is where the confusion comes in.”

The government has since disbanded the board of directors at Tanzania’s maritime safety agency, the Surface and Maritime Regulatory Authority, and has also launched an inquiry into what caused the accident.

Local media say the capacity for the capsized ferry was 100 people, but officials say the vessel was carrying more than twice that number when it capsized.

It operated on a busy route, crossing eight times a day between Ukara and Ukwerewe, which are close to Tanzania’s second-largest city of Mwanza.

The ferry was said to have been particularly busy because it was market day in Bugorora, on Ukerewe. -BBC

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