September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document


Article Order:5

Title:1,000 deaths in the high seas: Senegalese community in America mobilizes to assist victims and families

Author:Tony Kabena

Publication:African Sun Times

Original Language:English





Body:The Senegalese community in America is mobilizing to meet the challenges posed by the worst ferry disaster in Africa, as well as one of the worst in the world. The Senegalese ferry, Le Joola, capsized in a treacherous storm off the coast of Gambia on Sept. 26. Officially, there were 1,034 passengers and crew on board, but the figure does not include children under the age of five who did not need to be ticketed. Of the 1,034, approximately 60 passengers survived. Most of those people who died were school children and students returning from vacation in the Casamance region to school in Dakar.

To support and ease the loss of many families, the government has already set up a national solidarity account. The U.S. Embassy of Senegal has decided to join in the effort and is organizing information, support, and aid in the United States. A book of condolences is available to sign at the embassy. All other condolences and donations are also welcomed.

The Consul-General of Senegal in New York, Amadou Bocoum, whose offices are in Harlem on 125th Street, has already consulted with the Senegalese community in the New York region to mobilize them to assist the victims and their families back in Senegal. He held a meeting with members of the Senegalese community on Oct. 6, and he has promised to inform the African Sun Times about what the community is planning to do.

In reaction to the tragedy, the new President of the powerful Senegalese Association in New York, Mr. Falou Goeye, expressed the anguish of the Senegalese community over the tragedy. We are extremely sad of what has happened to our kith and kin in Senegal, the loss of a thousand lives. It is a terrible tragedy. On behalf of the Senegalese community in America, Goeye expressed his profound and deepest sympathies to the victims and victims families, and called on the government to do everything to assist those families, as well as begin an authentic investigation of how this tragedy came about. He expressed the same sentiment echoing in the Senegalese community that the ferry was not fit to ply the waters, let alone carry that twice the number that the ferry was authorized to carry.

The addresses below are where you can send a contribution to those affected:

Embassy of Senegal
2112 Wyoming Avenue
Washington D.C. 20008
Phone: 202.234.0540 or
Fax: 202.332.6315

Consulate-General of Senegal in New York
271 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 917.493.8950

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