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90 Dead in Tragic Ferry Disaster off Mozambique’s North Coast

 

A devastating ferry sinking off the north coast of Mozambique has resulted in the loss of over 90 lives, according to local authorities. The incident, which occurred in Nampula province, saw only five of the 130 people believed to have been on board rescued.

Reports indicate that those on board were fleeing a cholera outbreak, a pressing issue in the region. Jaime Neto, Nampula’s Secretary of State, mentioned that many children were among the deceased. The ferry’s overcrowding and unsuitability for passengers were cited as factors leading to the tragic sinking.

Distressing footage circulating on social media shows numerous bodies strewn across a beach, though its authenticity remains unverified.

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The ferry was reportedly traveling from Lunga to Mozambique Island, off the coast of Nampula, according to Portuguese broadcaster RTP. The region has a Muslim-majority population, and some of the victims have already been laid to rest in accordance with Islamic customs.

Nampula province has been severely affected by a cholera outbreak that has plagued several countries in southern Africa since January last year. UNICEF has labeled the current outbreak the worst in 25 years, with Mozambique alone reporting 13,700 confirmed cases and 30 deaths since October 2023.

The tragedy adds to the challenges faced by Mozambique, as the country grapples with an Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado province that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced nearly one million people over six years.

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The boat accident underscores broader safety concerns in Mozambique, where boat accidents are not uncommon due to lax oversight. Despite recent efforts to improve safety measures, such as increased pressure on ferry operators, tragedies like this continue to occur.

Mozambique Island, the destination of the ill-fated ferry, holds historical significance as the former capital of Portuguese East Africa during colonial rule. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the island is renowned for its colonial architecture and trading post history, spanning nearly 400 years.

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