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DR Congo boat mishap death toll rises to 471 minute read

Lakes and rivers are widely used for transport in the DRC in preference to a poor highway system

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Boat mishap in DR Congo kills another 37 people
(File photo)

The death toll from a weekend boat disaster in the Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to at least 47 people, with dozens more possibly missing, local authorities told journalists.

The boat capsized in rough waters on Lake Mai-Ndombe on Saturday, the latest in a string of deadly accidents in Congolese waters.

On Monday, authorities reported 32 people had died in the accident on a boat that was unfit for transport. Its owner has been arrested.

The death toll has risen to 47, Simon Mbo Wemba, mayor of the lakeside town of Inongo, told AFP.

He said the boat’s official manifest had 113 people aboard but there were already 183 people who escaped. He also said around 400 people could have been onboard the vessel.

DR Congo President, Felix Tshisekedi demanded a full investigation and said those responsible must face the appropriate sanctions.

Lakes and rivers are widely used for transport in the Democratic Republic of Congo in preference to a poor highway system.

But accidents are common, typically caused by overloading of passengers and cargo and the poor state of the vessels.

Tolls are often high because there are usually no life jackets and many Congolese do not know how to swim.

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Heavy rains threaten Uganda’s coffee crop quality

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Uganda’s coffee crop quality could see a decline in the coming months as heavy rains across the country have reduced the amount of sunshine necessary for bean drying.

Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia and grows mostly robusta variety.

The country has been pounded by unusually heavy rains that started in August resulting in deaths, displacement and extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Western Uganda, including the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains , some of the biggest coffee growing areas, has received some of the most intense rains.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the state-run regulator, forecasts Uganda’s bean exports will climb 16 percent to 5.1 million 60-kg (132-pound) bags in the current crop year ending September.

The country’s coffee output has surged in recent years, the fruition of a government programme that has been distributing free seedlings to farmers to expand acreage and replace aging trees.

Authorities say their target is to help boost annual production to 20 million bags by 2025.

The beans have traditionally been Uganda’s biggest commodity export but were recently overtaken by gold which now annually earns the country over $1 billion.

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Tanzania, France sign water supply loan agreement

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Tanzania has signed a loan agreement with France to finance water supply projects that will benefit about 770,000 people in the country’s Morogoro municipality.

The French government will extend the loan worth about $76 million to Tanzania through its French Development Agency (AFD), according to Dotto James, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning who signed the agreement on behalf of Tanzania.

“Upon completion, the water supply in the Morogoro municipality will increase from the current 37,000 cubic meters a day to 108,000 cubic meters a day,” James told a press conference following a signing ceremony in Morogoro.

AFD Country Representative for Tanzania, Stephanie Mouen says the project will improve the well-being of the people in the municipality and it will also improve the environment.

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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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