Several Feared Dead in Margibi as Canoe Capsizes

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Margibi County Superintendent, Jerry Varnie: "We are so sad about the terrible experience, but again nothing much we can do..."

At least 10 persons were reportedly drowned yesterday, August 22, 2018, while six others have been rescued, according to a report from the Liberia News Agency (LINA) Margibi County correspondent Richard Duke Baysah.

Baysah, at about 4:15 p.m., reported that the incident occurred Wednesday afternoon at the Manawhala Crossing-point located at the back of the Dolo Town Health Center, near Firestone, Lower Margibi County, while the victims were making their way to the other end of the creek in a locally-made canoe.

According to Baysah, the canoe was transporting 16 people to Unification Town (Smell-No-Taste) when it capsized due to rough and aggressive water current that swept toward the rising tide, which eventually submerged the canoe.

“I was told by some residents that the incident took place this afternoon [yesterday afternoon] at a creek that has over flooded due to recent heavy downpours,” Baysah said via a telephone call to the Daily Observer.

“I have just received information that six persons have been rescued, but 10 more persons are yet to be found,” he said.

According to Baysah, one of those rescued (name not disclosed) said he was happy that he survived, but was worried about the remaining number of persons yet to be found, and said he is familiar with almost all of them.

About the response and immediate intervention from the county authorities, Baysah informed the Daily Observer that Margibi County Superintendent Jerry Varnie expressed regret for the incident, but said that his office’s hands are short of being capable to attend to any disaster matter, including the provision of relief items due to lack of funds.

Supt. Varnie continued, “We are so sad about the terrible experience, but again nothing much we can do, because we don’t have any means, particularly money, to find relief items or help in paying for immediate medical attention for survivors of such a terrible disaster.”

He then expressed his sympathy to the victim’s families and hope to meet them any time soon.

When the Daily Observer contacted Supt. Varnie via a telephone call at about 6:30 p.m., he said he was attending a meeting at the Capitol Building in Monrovia when Kakata City Mayor Samuel Berrian and the Development Superintendent (name not disclosed), informed him that 11 persons were on board the canoe when it reportedly capsized, “but three were rescued.”

“The city mayor told me that eight of the persons, who fell in the water when the canoe capsized, are being rescued, while three others up to this moment have not been found yet,” Supt. Varmie said.

He said those rescued from the water are being given medical treatment at a local health center in Lower Margibi County.

“For four consecutive years now, Margibi has been disaster prone, particularly when it comes to flood, which happens during the rainy season,” Varmie said.

He added, “My office has contacted the County Legislative Caucus, the government in general, and all well-meaning individuals and institutions to extend their hands of support to the affected residents, including those who have been displaced by the recent flood.”

According to the LINA correspondent, areas mainly affected from the flooding include Ben Ville, Miss Moore, Dennis Ville (Behind BWI and KRTTI), all in Kakata, while Peter’s Town, Kpanyah, Brown Town, and parts of Dolo’s Town were also affected.

Baysah said up to press time last night, all streams and rivers have overflowed their banks, thus causing flood on the main road leading from Monrovia to the Roberts International Airport (RIA) and adjacent stretch of roads, affecting villagers.

“Over ten families got affected from the latest flooding, and this number added to the already existing ones that are being sheltered in Public Schools, Mosques and the Town Hall in Peter’s Town,” Baysah reported.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. What a sad news from Lower Margibi County, my home County. My heart goes out to the citizens of Lower Margibi County, Superintendent Jerry Varnie, the bereaved families and to the families of the missing citizens. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult times in your lives.

    • What they need is a safe boat to safely transport passengers. This tragedy happens every year it seems but nothing is done to solve the problem. Those canoes are not safe for public transportation. I suggest you organize your friends from lower Margibi to do something about this problem instead. Else, next year the sadness will repeat itself.

  2. “We are so sad about the terrible situation, but again nothing we can do about it”. This is the statement from the superintendent of Mragibi County. It is as if the superintendent himself needs some PR (Public Relation) courses. Mr. Superintendent, are your citizen paying taxes. If I were you, I would call a press conference immediately and tell my citizen that taxes collected for central government revenue, a portion will be set aside to order a medium speed mechanical engine boat for the citizen commuting purpose . Knowing the need of your citizens and effectively tackling the problem, shows quality leadership.
    Unfortunately, more of our leaders do not serve the need of the people whom they claim to be representing.
    This is a ‘revolving door’ disaster, waiting to occur again and again.

    Mr. Superintendent, you were elected to serve the people, the statement made after this sad disaster, should be taken out of your play book. You are the last person to say anything like this. Part of your job description, is to restore hope in your citizens, in difficult time like this.

    Just my thought

  3. correction: ‘Are your citizens paying taxes”, there should be a question mark. Correct form: ‘are your citizens paying taxes?

  4. RIP, beloved departed and condolences to all bereaved families; one can’t help but be saddened and incensed by the unnecessary deaths. Hence, we’re pleased with comments not only contradicting Superintendent Jerry Brown’s supposedly helplessness, but also suggesting remidial actions that could’ve been taken to reverse the recurring loss of lives. We kindly ask that the County’s Legislative Caucus find ways and means of tackling, once for all, this ongoing tragedy.

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