Mozambique: Nearly a Hundred Dead in Fishing Boat Turned Ferry Tragedy

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A fishing vessel capsized on Sunday, April 7th, as it sailed toward the island of Mozambique. It was unsuitable for a sea voyage and overloaded with 130 passengers on board, local authorities announced on Sunday, April 7. At least 96 passengers have died, including “three children,” according to the island’s administrator. Eleven survivors have also been found.

“The boat sank because it was overloaded and unsuitable for passenger transport,” stated Jaime Neto, Secretary of State for the northern province of Nampula. Several children were among the victims, he added. Rescuers have found 11 survivors and continued their search, but rough sea conditions made operations difficult.

On Monday, April 8, the death toll from the shipwreck rose to 96, local authorities told AFP. “Five more bodies have been found in the past few hours, so we are talking about 96 deaths,” said Silverio Nauaito, the administrator of the small island of Mozambique, located off the coast of the northern province of Nampula, where the tragedy occurred.

Misinformation about the cholera epidemic

Most of the passengers were attempting to flee the mainland due to false information about an ongoing cholera epidemic, which sparked panic, according to Mr. Neto. Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, has recorded nearly 15,000 cases of the waterborne disease, with 32 deaths since October, according to government statistics.

Nampula province is the hardest-hit region, accounting for a third of the cases. In recent months, it has also hosted many people fleeing a series of jihadist attacks in the neighboring province of Cabo Delgado, in the country’s north.

An investigation has been opened to determine the causes of the shipwreck, the Secretary of State clarified, noting that two of the five survivors had been hospitalized. The boat was heading towards the Island of Mozambique, the former capital of Portuguese colonial rule in East Africa, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Soukaina Sghir

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