Nine children die when canoe capsizes in Zambia

July 27th, 2011 - 9:08 pm ICT by BNO News  

MPONGWE, ZAMBIA (BNO NEWS) — Nine young children were killed last week when a canoe capsized on the Kafue River in central Zambia, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The accident happened on Friday last week when the canoe capsized on the Kafue River in Mpongwe District, which is located in Copperbelt Province. The Kafue River, which has a length of 960 kilometers (597 miles), is deemed as one of the world’s great wildlife environments.

According to a report in the Zambia Daily Mail on Wednesday, nine children drowned when the canoe overturned as they attempted to cross the river. The newspaper said the victims were aged between two and eleven years old.

“Two families have lost four children each and there are no words to capture the magnitude of the calamity which has befallen the surviving family members,” President Rupiah Banda said in a letter of condolences. “It is truly regrettable that such an incident occurred at a time when the children were in the mornings of their lives. This loss represents the forfeiture of invaluable potential of persons who would have made their mark on our society in years to come.”

Banda added that the Zambian government would stand by the bereaved families to render every possible form of support during this period and prayed that the families “would find comfort and reassurance in the Lord Jesus Christ during this trying moment.”

The Zambia Daily Mail reported that the victims of the accident were buried on Tuesday at the Thomas Village Cemetery in Mpongwe District. The funeral was attended by several local officials.

“I thank the Government for the support rendered to us during the funeral. Let’s remain united as we mourn our children,” the Zambia Daily Mail cited one local official as saying. Mpongwe district commissioner Rasford Bulaya said the deaths were a ‘great loss’ to the country.

Meanwhile, Zambian officials are warning citizens about the dangers of using dugout canoes.

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