Dar/Ukerewe — Individuals and institutions had by press time yesterday contributed a total of Sh589.3 million following the MV Nyerere ferry disaster off Ukara islet in Ukerewe District that killed 227 people.
MV Nyerere, which was headed to Ukara from Ukerewe Island, capsized last Thursday at 1.48pm about 50 metres from the shore as it was about to dock.
Disaster committee chairman, who is also the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Mr Isack Kamwelwe, said yesterday that the committee received Sh160 million from KCB Bank Tanzania, Sh25 million from the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam, Sh10 million from Tanzania Postal Corporation (TPC) and Sh300,000 from two fishermen Abel Michael and John Saria.
The Evangelistic Assemblies of God Church of Tanzania (EAGT) donated Sh5 million.
The additional money brought the total amount collected by press time yesterday to Sh589.3 million.
Disbursement of the money to 135 families who lost their relatives in the accident started yesterday.
In line with President John Magufuli's directive, each family was to receive Sh1 million for every life lost in the accident.
Mwanza regional accountant Henry Kilenga made the payments to the families. A similar amount was also paid to each of the 41 survivors of the accident.
Meanwhile, the government continued to make every effort to try and restore normalcy on the island. One of the latest efforts towards that goal was the announcement that transport services between Ukara and Bugorola in Ukerewe District would resume today.
The services would be provided by MV Temesa, according to Mr Kamwelwe.
"We are working hard to bring lives back to normal, and already technicians are inspecting MV Temesa before bringing it to Ukara to provide transport services starting tomorrow (today)," he said.
MV Temesa, which has a capacity of 120 passengers, will remain in service until a new vessel, which will be constructed with double the capacity of the MV Nyerere, is ready, he said.
On Monday, Mr Kamwelwe said President Magufuli ordered the immediate floating of a tender for the new ferry which would have a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes.
Meanwhile, experts were working yesterday to turn over the capsized MV Nyerere.