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Tunisia receives 60 Chinese rail cars to transport cereals

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Tunisia receives 60 Chinese rail cars

TUNIS: Tunisian National Railway Company has received 60 Chinese-made rail cars dedicated to cereals transport.

These cars were produced by Baotou Beifang Chuangye, a Chinese company specializing in the manufacture of freight vehicles with great potential for international development and competitiveness. Ridha Saidi, the adviser to Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, said these rail cars will be used for the transport of grain on two lines, connecting the capital Tunis to Bizerte in the north and Ghardimaou in the northwest.

According to Saidi, the economic and trade cooperation between Tunisia and China “should take more intense pace.” “Tunisia will sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative, and it will certainly have a positive influence in strengthening bilateral cooperation and attracting Chinese investors to do business in Tunisia,” he said.

The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aim at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tanzania buries ferry disaster dead as toll hits 224

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Tanzania ferry disaster toll rises to 151

UKARA: Tanzania declared the whole nation was in mourning Sunday as the first dozen bodies were buried from a devastating ferry capsize on Lake Victoria that left people 224 dead.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa led “national funerals” on the island of Ukara, where the MV Nyerere had been coming in to dock on Thursday.
He spoke of “great mourning by the whole nation” as the first coffins were placed in individual graves, many of the victims unidentified.
The remainder of the dead were to be laid to rest later or taken away by families wishing for privates funerals.
The prime minister said a memorial would be built on Ukara.
Hopes had faded of finding any more survivors three days after the disaster, even after rescuers pulled out an engineer on Saturday who had holed up in an air pocket in the upturned vessel.
But Majaliwa said divers would continue the grim search in the waters around the boat. The ferry would also be refloated.
He updated the death toll to 126 women, 71 men, 17 girls, and 10 boys. Just 41 people survived.
Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe said 265 people had been on board the ferry, which had an official capacity of 100 or 101 passengers.
The prime minister said initial investigations suggested overloading was one of the causes of the accident.
“We have already arrested all those people in charge of operating and supervising the MV Nyerere. Questioning has begun,” he said.
A broader commission of inquiry into the disaster would also be set up, Majaliwa added.
One survivor was an engineer who shut himself into a “special room” with enough air for him to stay alive until he was found, said local lawmaker Joseph Mkundi.
Transport minister Kamwelwe said on Saturday that 172 of the bodies had been identified by relatives.
State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island. It was market day, which usually sees the vessel packed with people and goods.
Witnesses told AFP that the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock. Others blamed the captain, saying he had made a brusque maneuver.
Dozens of wooden coffins had lined the shore on Saturday, waiting to be seen by families as police and volunteers sought to keep hundreds of curious locals at bay.
Aisha William came to collect the body of her husband. “He left on Tuesday around noon, but he never came home. I do not know how I am going to raise my two children,” she said.
Ahmed Caleb, a 27-year-old trader, railed at a tragedy “which could have been prevented. I’ve lost my boss, friends, people I went to school with,” he sighed.
The aging vessel, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible above water, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas, and cement, when it capsized.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the ferry’s management and declared four days of national mourning.
“It appears clear that the ferry was overloaded”, he said, adding that the government would cover the funeral expenses.
With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on the lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many local people cannot swim.
In 1966, more than 800 people lost their lives on Lake Victoria when the MV Bukoba sank off the mainland town of Mwanza, according to the Red Cross.

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Death toll of Tanzanian ferry accident rises to 218

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Tanzania ferry disaster toll rises to 151

DAR ES SALAAM: The death toll from the ferry that capsized in Lake Victoria has risen to 218 and may further grow, state media said late on Saturday.
Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Isack Kamwelwe said more bodies could be recovered as rescue and recovery operations continued.
“Relatives have started identifying bodies of their loved ones,” Kamwelwe told a news conference at Ukara Islet, the scene of the grisly marine accident.
He said a ship carrying equipment to be used to pull the ferry out of the lake was on its way from Mwanza, a northwestern port city.
“We are expecting the vessel anytime and work to pull out the ferry will start right away,” said the minister. On Friday, Tanzanian President Magufuli announced a four-day mourning period for the victims of the accident.
According to sources, the ferry, with a capacity of 101 passengers and 25 tonnes of cargo, capsized at around 1 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) Thursday.
Preliminary investigations showed that the state-owned ferry was overloaded and was being manned by someone who was not the authorized captain of the vessel. The last major ferry accident on Lake Victoria occurred in 1996 in the same region, killing at least 500 people.

 

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Tanzania ferry disaster toll rises to 151

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Tanzania ferry disaster toll rises to 151

NAIROBI: The death toll after a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria has risen to 151, state-run TV station TBC said Saturday as rescue workers pressed on with the search to find scores more people feared drowned.
“Operations resumed early this morning,” TBC said. Late Friday, the toll had stood at 131, with 40 people known to have survived after the MV Nyerere capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday.
The vessel may have been carrying as many as 200 passengers – double the ferry’s capacity – according to reports on state media.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the management of the ferry.
Witnesses reached by AFP said the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock.
In a speech broadcast on TBC 1 public television, Magufuli said “it appears clear that the ferry was overloaded”, adding that “negligence has cost us so many lives… children, mothers, students, old people”.
“I ordered the arrest of all those involved in the management of the ferry. The arrests have already begun,” he added.
The president declared four days of national mourning and said the government would cover the funeral expenses of the victims.
Hopes are fading that more survivors might still be found.
State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island, where it was a market day when locals said the vessel was usually packed with people and goods.
“I have not heard from either my father or my younger brother who were on the ferry. They had gone to the market in Bugolora to buy a school uniform and other supplies for the new school term,” said Domina Maua, who was among those seeking information about loved ones.
Davita Ngenda, an elderly woman in Ukara, had already received bad news.
“My son is among the bodies recovered,” she said, weeping. “He had gone with his wife but she has not been found yet. My God, what did I do to deserve this?”
Sebastian John, a teacher, said such tragedies had become part of life for those living on the lake.
“Since my birth, people have gone to their deaths on this lake, but what are we to do? We did not choose to be born here, we have nowhere to go,” he said.
Tanzania’s Electrical, Mechanical and Services Agency, which is responsible for ferry services, said it was unknown how many passengers were aboard the MV Nyerere.
The aging ferry, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible after it overturned, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas, and cement, when it capsized around 50 meters (55 yards) from Ukara dock.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently to blame for such incidents.
The country’s opposition has accused the government of “negligence”.
“We have often raised concerns about the poor condition of this ferry, but the government turned a deaf ear. We have repeatedly denounced this negligence,” said John Mnyika, deputy secretary general of Chadema, the main opposition party.
Mnyika said overloading was “another failure of the authorities” and criticised “inadequate relief efforts as well as delays” in the rescue operation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Uganda and Kenya offered their condolences, while Pope Francis in a statement expressed “the greatest solidarity with those who have been bereaved” by the disaster.
With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
Capsizes are not uncommon in the massive lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region cannot swim.
The deadliest such accident in recent decades was in May 1996, when around 800 people died after their ferry sank on the way to Mwanza in Tanzania.

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