Boat Sinks, Leading to Tragedy off the Coast of Mozambique

Boat Sinks, Leading to Tragedy off the Coast of Mozambique

( – A boat sank off the coast of Mozambique, killing dozens of people. Officials say the converted fishing vessel was carrying people fleeing the mainland due to fears of a cholera epidemic and that most of the dead were children. Images and videos on social media show small boat operators pulling bodies from the water, as well as victims on local beaches.

Around 130 people were on board when the vessel sank. President Filipe Nyusi reportedly said on Monday that more than 100 of those people died.

The tragedy occurred near Nampula’s coastline. The area’s leader, Jaime Neto, blamed overcrowding, but witnesses described a leakage on the vessel. Local reporter Charles Mangwiro reprimanded authorities for the lack of ship monitoring between the mainland and its islands.

Some social media posts stated that “misinformation” about cholera has prompted panic and encouraged people to flee unnecessarily and on unsafe vessels. Nevertheless, the United Nations confirmed that Mozambique was experiencing its worst cholera outbreak in 25 years, as of January 2024. Over 43,000 cases were reported from September 2022 to January 2023.

Rumors of community leaders deliberately spreading the disease have led to riots and violence in recent months, leaving at least four people dead and dozens of houses destroyed. In one incident, rioters attacked the homes of local officials, accusing them of implementing policies that aided the disease’s spread. Similarly, a man was surrounded and murdered in the town of Gurue when locals heard claims he was deliberately infecting others.

International data shows that Mozambique is just one nation enduring a rise in cholera infections. South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, and Kenya are also affected, The BBC reported. According to The World Health Organization (WHO), researchers estimate that there are up to 4 million cases of cholera a year and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths.

Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease usually contracted from ingesting unsanitary water. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea so severe that it can cause fatal dehydration. In severe cases, death can occur within hours.

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