RADHICA DE SILVA
It has been a week since Venezuela’s horrific Delta Amacuro shipwreck and just when hopes were getting dim, five more survivors were found on a sandy strip of beach at Los Cocos, Venezuela.
They had spent 19 hours on the high seas, clinging to a “tobo” or a can of cheese (which they planned to sell in Trinidad), before being washed up on the beach.
Famished, disoriented and thirsty, they spent 120 hours on the beach before getting aid from the Warao people last Tuesday.
Venezuela’s Tane Tanae Delta posted the dramatic story of the survivors who would have died were it not for the Warao and the can of cheese.
Images of a Warao couple who assisted the five survivors were posted on Venezuela’s social media and an outpouring of love and joy was expressed by hundreds of Venezuelans.
In an audio broadcast, the governor of the Delta Amacuro state, Dr Lizeta Hernández, confirmed the rescue of the five survivors.
“Good evening, dear brothers, I am happy to inform you that at this moment, we are rescuing five survivors of the tragedy that occurred days ago. The health and safety teams are already in La Horqueta receiving these five compatriots who, thank God, are alive,” she said.
Tane Tanae Delta reported that the five survivors resided in the Virgen del Valle parish—three in La Horqueta, one in La Florida, and one in Ceiba Mocha.
In total, 12 shipwrecked Venezuelans have been rescued. Eight have been confirmed dead, including one man who washed up in Fullarton, off the coast of southwestern Trinidad. There are four people still missing.
The boatload of 24 migrants had been bound for Trinidad but capsized in a strait of the sea known as Boca de Serpiente (Snake’s Mouth) around 4 am on April 22nd. A Venezuelan commercial ship operating in the Boca, which separates Venezuela from Trinidad, rescued seven of the survivors.
On December 6th last year, 29 people died when a boat sank some 20 km (12 miles) from the coastal town of Guiria, in Venezuela’s north-eastern state of Sucre. Those passengers also had been heading to Trinidad, in search of a better life.
The identities of the five survivors recently rescued by the Warao are yet to be officially confirmed. However, Tane Tanae Delta news is reporting them to be Lenin Rodríguez; Vladimir Hernandez; Evelio Cabrera; Marcos Tablante; and Ronald Sanchez.
The seven survivors who were rescued by the commercial ship are: Leonardo Marín, from Maturín; Norberto Martínez, of La Florida; Reinaldo Villarroel, of Cocuina; Alberto Monterola, from La Horqueta; Alba Sánchez, of Villa Bolivariana; Alexander Jiménez, of Cocuina Bloom; and Lazarde Salazar, from La Horqueta.