On a day initially marked by celebration, tragedy struck outside the Madagascar National Stadium on Friday afternoon as a stampede marred the opening ceremony of the 11th Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG), leaving a devastating toll of at least 12 fatalities and 80 individuals injured.
The unfortunate incident transpired as a throng of eager fans attempted to enter the stadium, resulting in a chaotic crush that led to falls, injuries, and loss of life at the entrance.
In response to the tragedy, President Andry Rajoelina called for a minute of silence to honor the victims during the ceremony. He also announced that the state would cover the medical expenses of the injured and extended condolences on behalf of the nation to the grieving families.
The 11th edition of the IOIG, which commenced yesterday, features teams from Reunion, Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mayotte, and the Maldives, competing in an eight-day event.
It is worth noting that this is not the first such incident to occur at this venue. In 2019, a similar stampede claimed the lives of at least 15 people and left 75 others injured. Furthermore, in September 2018, during a soccer match between Madagascar and Senegal, another stampede resulted in one fatality and 47 injuries.