Local emergency officials in southeastern Nigeria said Saturday that 10 people have died and more than 60 are still missing after a boat carrying passengers capsized. Officials said the locally made boat was carrying 85 people who were on their way to a local market when it developed an engine power problem.
The Anambra state emergency management agency Saturday evening said fifteen people have so far been rescued alive.
Officials say the accident occurred around mid-day Friday in the Ogbaru local government area when the engine of the boat carrying the passengers failed and caused it to crash into a submerged bridge.
Most of the passengers on the boat were market women on their way to work.
Severe flooding had covered the roads in the area, forcing residents to move around with boats.
Paul Nwosu, is the Anambra state Commissioner for Information.
“So, when the engine failed, there was not enough to paddle the canoe to a safe place where they can now begin to troubleshoot over what has happened to the boat, so in the process of panic and how to steer the boat to somewhere where people could be able to help them the boat slipped under a bridge that has already been submerged,” he said.
Anambra state is among many Nigerian states reporting heavy flooding that has lasted for months this year. The waters have been sweeping away homes and farmland, damaging crucial infrastructure and causing deaths.
Nigeria’s national emergency agency said more than 300 people have died from flooding since the beginning of the year.
Authorities say the flooding is caused by an increase in rainfall and the release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.
In July, 17 bodies were recovered after a boat mishap in Nigeria’s commercial center, Lagos during a heavy downpour.
Authorities also say the huge losses of crops in the flooding could push up food prices in a country where millions are already food insecure.