Volunteers on the scene of Tanzania ferry disaster

Published: 19 July 2012 9:33 CET

A ferry carrying over 280 people has capsized in the Indian Ocean as it travelled between Dar-es-Salam and Zanzibar, Tanzania. Search and rescue operations are ongoing, but at the time of writing 21 people have been rescued and 27 bodies recovered. The ferry’s nominal capacity was 250 people.

The Tanzania Red Cross Society has deployed a team of volunteers to the site of the disaster to assist in the search for survivors. A second team has been placed on standby at the nearby port where warm blankets and other supplies are ready for those coming ashore. The organization has also put two ambulances on standby to carry those in need of more extensive medical attention to hospital.

At present the ferry is still completely submerged and the weather in the region is making rescue operations more difficult. The Tanzania Red Cross continues to monitor the situation and further supplies needed for the response have been prepared and will be dispatched to the area today.

The disaster has prompted a recall of the country’s parliament to discuss the most effective ways of supporting those caught up in the tragedy, and those involved in the rescue operation.