Gabon: End of National Mourning, Shipwreck Survivors Create a Collective to Demand Justice

maryam lahbal
maryam lahbal
2 Min Read

In Gabon, the three-day national mourning decreed by the authorities in memory of the victims of the sinking of the Esther Miracle ferry on March 9, 2023, ends on Thursday, March 16. The death toll from the tragedy is 21 dead, 16 missing, and 124 survivors.

On the 15th of March, President Ali Bongo of Gabon, accompanied by his wife Sylvia and various government officials, visited Port Mole, the location from where the sunken ship departed. The purpose of their visit was to offer condolences to the families who have been tirelessly keeping vigil over the site, enduring both scorching sunlight and heavy rainfall.

The inhabitants of Libreville have also been visiting the port to express their solidarity with the families of the victims. People from various parts of the capital have been coming together to offer prayers and hope for the recovery of those who are still missing, even if it means finding them deceased. “We hold the hope that the bodies that have yet to be recovered from the water can be retrieved,” elaborated a woman.

Under the tent where the list and photos of the disappeared are displayed, relatives continue to lay wreaths of flowers, others candles. “We want those responsible for this tragedy to be punished,” demands another woman. Sadness and emotion are vivid. The Catholic Church has opened a listening cell. The Gabonese Samu social offers medication and above all consultations with psychologists, explains Lauris Ndaot, clinical psychologist: “The survivors are in a moment of anguish and quite high psychological distress. We have the question of insomnia, and lack of appetite, but also depression about what happened. »

Maryam Lahbal

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