Deaths have been reported during a religious celebration in Gondar, located in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara regional state.
According to a freelance journalist, Vincent Dublange, a stage collapsed during the Timket celebrations which left dozens of injured. At the time of filing this report he tweeted a death toll of seven people citing sources whiles the Mayor’s office put the toll as three.
Gondar hosted a high-level government delegation that arrived in town for the celebrations. President Sahle-Work Zewde and mayor of the capital Addis Ababa were among the delegation that participated in the events.
“Several deaths and dozens of injuries reported from the collapse of a stand inside the Emperor Fasilades Bath in Gonder. Families have began to take bodies and the hospital has been overwhelmed with many forced to be treated in makeshift beds,” journalist Samuel Getachew disclosed on Twitter.
Thousands of Ethiopian and Eritrean orthodox worshipers have joined the faithful across the world to celebrate the Epiphany. A festival that commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ according to the ancient Orthodox calendar.
The colourful festival, also known as Timket is one of the oldest and most important observed religious festivals in Ethiopia.
Church leaders carry representations of the box built by Moses to house the 10 commandments known as the Ark of the Covenant, as worshippers sing and dance in the streets.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations in the world. Despite the growing influence of Islam and evangelical churches in the country, the traditional Orthodox Church remains strong.