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At Egyptian Port, Relatives Wait for News of Loved Ones on Ferry


At the Egyptian port of Safaga, family members are waiting for word on the fate of loved ones who were on board a ferry that caught fire and sank in the Red Sea. Police say more than 400 survivors have been rescued and nearly 200 bodies recovered, but about 700 people are missing. Robert Berger is at the port, and, in this on-scene report, he tells VOA, people are desperate for news of loved ones.

Frustration has turned into outbursts of grief here at the Egyptian port of Safaga. A woman is walking down the street, her hands raised in the air. She is weeping for her son.

"How long must I wait," she is saying. "Why won't the authorities tell us anything. I just want to know," she says, "whether he is dead or alive."

Hundreds of people are waiting outside the port for the third straight day, with little news about their loved ones. Every few hours, a police commander reads the names of survivors over a loud speaker. But only about 30 names, or so, are read, and most people walk away disappointed.

The expression on people's faces reflects more fear than hope. They know that, with each passing hour, the chances of finding survivors grow more slim.

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