Another Canoe Capsizes Near Harbel

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Flooded 15 Gate to Du Bridge Road. Residents in the area are compelled to travel to Harbel by canoe, due to the collapse of the Du River Bridge in June of 2017.

But life jackets donated by Rep. Tarwonpeh saves all 12 on board

By Richard Duke Baysah (LINA)

Kakata – Another canoe has capsized near the collapsed Du River Bridge along the 15 Gate – Harbel route.

The canoe had 12 persons, including two operators, on board, but this time all survived the incident.

Speaking in an interview with the Liberia News Agency (LINA) in Bondiway, in Firestone, Acee Tweh, a correction officer who was among those that survived the incident, said they went to Harbel to attend to their individual businesses and were returning home late Wednesday evening when the canoe capsized.

Acee Tweh, 33, a survivor from Wednesday’s capsized canoe of the Du River in Firestone

“We got to the crossing point very late that evening, at about 7:30 PM and immediately launched an appeal to the operator of the canoe to cross us. He was very reluctant, owing to the fact that it was very dark and there was no light to see,” Miss Tweh explained.

She also said that when they boarded the canoe and tried to cross the river, they found it difficult due to the high current of the water. The operator lost control of the canoe, and it collided with a very big stick in the middle of the water, causing it to turn over with them.

“I was the only passenger on board without a life jacket, so I nearly got drowned during the incident”, Tweh said.

The incident has left Miss Tweh with multiple wounds on her body. She is now urinating with blood as a result of inhaling a huge quantity of water after the canoe capsized.

A similar incident occurred last month over the Gben River in Smell No Taste, after a canoe capsized with 15 people on board. That incident was reported to have left nine persons dead, but only 5 bodies were recovered by the Liberia National Coast Guard of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).

Tawah Tamba,22, a survivor from Wednesday’s capsized canoe of the Du River in Firestone

Another survivor spoken to, Miss Taywah Tamba, age 22, said she had gone on the day of the incident to register with the Harbel Community College when the canoe capsized.

Meanwhile, citizens of Margibi County are commending District #1 Representative, Tilberosa S. Tarwonpeh, for purchasing life jackets for them. They said that had it not been for the life jackets he bought for them, all of the passengers on the canoe would have died.

Residents in the area are compelled to travel via canoe to cross from one area to another since the collapse of the Du River Bridge in June last year.

“We are compelled to take the risk in using canoes to cross and go to Harbel market to buy food for our families, because it is very costly for us to use commercial motorbikes, which charge us between L$350.00 to L$400.00, just to get us there. The same amount is also paid when returning,” most residents, who were spoken to, revealed.

At the same time, Margibi County Inspector Moses Gbankpala says Margibi County is now turning into a “flood-prone” county following the rainy season.

Mr. Gankpala said since 2014, Margibi County has always experienced floods and other incidents of disaster.

He is urging citizens of Margibi County to take every precautionary measure when crossing rivers, especially during the rainy season.

“This year alone, the flood is too much in the county and is causing serious problems for residents, especially in flood-affected areas,” Mr. Gbankpala further stated.

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