, KAMPALA, Mar 25 – Uganda said Tuesday it has recovered 107 bodies, including 57 children, after a boat capsized at the weekend on Lake Albert, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The boat, which was packed with refugees from the DRC hoping to return home from a camp in Uganda, was believed to have been carrying up to 250 people when it overturned on Saturday.
“The exact number of passengers on board has yet to be established,” Uganda’s Refugees Minister Hillary Onek told reporters.
“The number of bodies recovered are 44 females, 63 males. Among them are 57 children. The total number of the dead is 107.”
The minister said 45 people had been rescued after the disaster, adding that police, armed forces marine units and civilian fishing boats were still searching for bodies.
Navigation on central Africa’s Great Lakes can be as perilous as sailing in high seas when the weather is rough. Accidents often lead to very high casualty tolls, partly because of a lack of life-jackets and also because relatively few people know how to swim.
Saturday’s disaster happened just days after the DRC authorities launched a campaign to enforce the wearing of life-jackets aboard all boats on the large nation’s many waterways.