Children die as ferry topples in Kinniya; Bridge unconstructed

Children die as ferry topples in Kinniya; Bridge unconstructed

Written by Staff Writer

23 Nov, 2021 | 4:31 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); The journey to Kurinyankerni from Kinniya in the Trincomalee District is made by crossing the Kinniya Lagoon.

However, one could simply notice the lack of a bridge across this body of water unlike most. Residents of Kurinyankerni were left with no choice but to access the mainland with the use of a ferry, given the lack of essential infrastructure in their locale.

At the crack of dawn today, the ferry set out as usual from one end of the lagoon to the other, carrying more than 30 passengers including school students and teachers.

Most of these students were from lowly families, shouldering the weight of their parents’ dreams and aspirations to live a better life through academic excellence.

But, none of them would have foreseen that a routine ferry ride would end in disaster. Suddenly the ferry capsized midway, throwing all passengers overboard and into the Kinniya Lagoon.

Area residents scrambled to the scene of the catastrophe in a desperate attempt to rescue the victims.

A few minutes later, 7 children were rescued and swiftly admitted to the Kinniya Hospital, as confirmed by our correspondent.

Search operations however are still underway to locate the missing passengers.

Was the hospital equipped with facilities and resources to respond to such a sudden tragedy?

Locals in Kinniya and its environs allege the bridge which linked multiple areas to the mainland across the Kinniya lagoon was rendered unusable owing mainly to torrential rainfall experienced over the years.

Since then, area residents had been requesting for a bridge to be constructed for the benefit of their children, the future of our nation.

On the 11th of April this year, the foundation stone was laid to construct a new bridge across the lagoon, shedding a glimmer of hope to the locals.

Regrettably, the construction of the bridge has now come to a standstill 7 months after it was announced with much pomp and pageantry. Why was construction halted? Who authorized it?

These are but some of the questions lingering in the minds of those who lost their loved ones today.

Ultimately, the families of the victims, locals, and the entire nation have been left to ponder the question, would such an untimely demise have occurred, had there been a robust bridge in place?

Soon after tragedy struck, grief turned into rage and the people of Kinniya took to the streets to make their irritation known.

Children are the custodians of our nation and failing to provide an iota of care about their safety and well-being will only haunt us as a nation in the future.

Today, the hopes, ambitions, dreams, and aspirations of many parents, teachers, and most importantly innocent children are lying in the depths of the Kinniya Lagoon.

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