In a heart-wrenching incident, a stampede occurred during the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games at Madagascar Stadium in Antananarivo, leading to the loss of 13 lives, including seven children. Here’s a breakdown of the tragic event and its aftermath.\
Fatal Stampede Claims Lives of Children and Adults
At least 13 individuals, including seven children, tragically lost their lives on Friday during a crowd stampede at the Antananarivo stadium in Madagascar’s capital. The news agency AFP reported that the Red Cross and a local member of parliament confirmed the devastating incident. Opposition MP Hanitra Razafimanantsoa conveyed that “So far, 13 people have been killed and 107 injured” during a local radio broadcast. The Red Cross present at the scene disclosed that seven minors were among the deceased.
Uncertainty Surrounds the Cause
The cause of the stampede remains uncertain. The stadium was hosting the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games, and a crowd of around 50,000 spectators had gathered for the event. Antsa Mirado, a communications manager with the Red Cross, shared that “There were a lot of people at the entrance, which triggered a stampede.” The toll is feared to climb as investigations continue.
National Mourning and Grief
Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina, who was present at the opening ceremony, called for a minute of silence to honor the victims. He expressed, “A tragic event occurred because there was pushing. There were injuries and deaths at the entrance.” The televised speech quoted by AFP captured the gravity of the situation as images of dazed and shocked individuals circulated. Personal belongings, including shoes, were scattered amidst the chaos.
A History of Tragedy
The Barea stadium, hosting around 28 million inhabitants, has unfortunately witnessed similar incidents in the past. In 2019, during a concert on the country’s national holiday, a stampede resulted in the deaths of at least 16 people, including three children. In 2016, a homemade bomb explosion during Independence Day celebrations claimed three lives and left numerous injured.
Indian Ocean Island Games Continue
Despite the tragedy, the Indian Ocean Island Games, a multi-disciplinary competition, will continue until September 3 in Madagascar. The Games are held every four years across various islands in the south-west Indian Ocean region. This year’s event marks the latest iteration, with the previous edition hosted by Mauritius.
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