Wooden bench collapses at major religious gathering in Ethiopia

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 00:36 |
People take part in the epiphany celebration in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Jan. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

An accident occurred as tens of thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on Monday gathered in Ethiopia's northwestern Gondar city to celebrate epiphany, the baptism of Jesus Christ.

  The tragic accident happened as a wooden bench that was constructed to serve people attending the epiphany celebrations in Gondar city collapsed, eventually affecting people nearby, eyewitnesses taking part at the event told Xinhua.

One eyewitness also confirmed to Xinhua that security personnel and volunteers were seen undertaking lifesaving activities shortly after the incident that happened in the early hours of Monday.

 Despite various pictures circulating over social media platforms showcasing the incident as well as pictures of injured people, both federal and Amhara regional government officials are yet to confirm the number of human causalities from the incident.

   Thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians across Ethiopia travel to Gondar city every year to celebrate epiphany, in which this year's edition of the celebrations in Gondar is also attended by senior Ethiopian government officials, including the Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde.

   The Ethiopian epiphany (Timket in Amharic), which is considered as one of the East African country's highly rated religious and cultural events, is a colorful festival celebrated all over Ethiopia to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The commemoration starts on the eve of the main festival.

   According to Gondar city administration, tens of thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are attending this year's epiphany celebration in the historic city, while about 15,000 foreign nationals are also currently in Gondar city attending the epiphany celebrations. (Xinhua)

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