News / Africa

Boat Tragedy Claims 6 Lives Off Mayotte Coast

Comoros IslandsComoros Islands
x
Comoros Islands
Comoros Islands

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
A second boat accident in the Indian Ocean in the span of four weeks has claimed the lives of six people.  The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said a group of 24 people were traveling from the Comoros to the French territory of Mayotte when the boat in which they were riding capsized in the early morning hours of Monday,  October 8. 

The agency said this is the second capsizing in a month, and brings the number of people reported dead or missing off the coast of Mayotte to 69 so far this year.

“The boat capsized just a few meters away from land, and six people drowned, and their bodies have been found.  Eight people were rescued, and the rest are still missing.  They are feared dead.  On the eighth of September, a similar incident happened in the waters between Comoros and Mayotte.  Six people died and 27 are still missing, and earlier in May another incident occurred in the same location,” said William Spindler, a UNHCR spokesperson in Paris.

Spindler said people endure the dangerous journey across the Indian Ocean in search of greater opportunities, and the number of migrants and asylum seekers continues to grow.

As recent history of the country shows, Comoros has endured years of unrest and numerous coups.  The World Bank estimated a population increase from 2000-2009 at an average annual rate of 2.2 percent, and the gross domestic product, GDP, per head increase of an average of 0.9 percent on the three independent islands.

Spindler said while the vast majority of migrants come from the Comoros islands, the UNHCR is seeing refugees coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, to name a few countries.

“The vast majority of people are looking for a better life.  They are escaping poverty in the Comoros islands, Madagascar, or other places.  But some of them are also fleeing war and persecution at home,” said Spindler.

Spindler said the decision to travel by a vessel that is not made for the wide expanse of an ocean is a desperate one for those seeking a brighter future.  He said Mayotte is a part of France and is more affluent.  It offers better opportunities to find work.  However, Spindler said countries should look at alternative solutions, such as increasing development aid to the Comoros, instead of spending millions to send the migrants back home.

To hear the entire interview with William Spindler, click on audio.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid