94 lives lost as unlicensed ferry capsizes in Mozambique

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Ferry capsize leaves at least 94 dead, 26 missing in Mozambique.

MOZAMBIQUE, April 8: In a devastating maritime incident off the northern coast of Mozambique, at least 94 people, including children, have lost their lives, with 26 others reported missing after a ferry boat capsized. The vessel, described as an overloaded fishing boat, was not authorized to transport passengers, according to Lourenco Machado, an administrator from the country’s Maritime Transport Institute (INTRASMAR).

Speaking on state television, Machado disclosed the grim details of the tragedy on Monday, stating, “On Sunday, we registered a maritime incident where at least 94 people died when a barge carrying 130 people capsized. We have recovered 94 bodies and 26 are missing.”

The ill-fated boat was ferrying passengers from Lunga in Nampula province to Mozambique Island, with reports suggesting that it encountered a tidal wave, leading to its overturning. State broadcaster TVM, citing a local maritime administrator, mentioned that the passengers were fleeing a cholera outbreak, a crisis that has afflicted Mozambique and other nations in the region.

Jaime Neto, the secretary of state for Nampula province, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing that the vessel, overwhelmed by passengers and lacking proper licensing for transportation, succumbed to sinking. Neto further lamented the tragic loss of many children among the casualties.

Distressing visuals circulated on social media purportedly depict numerous bodies strewn across a beach, with some individuals seen carrying the lifeless forms of children. However, Reuters could not immediately authenticate these videos.

The incident underscores the ongoing challenges faced by Mozambique and neighboring countries in combating cholera outbreaks, a public health crisis that has plagued the region since the previous year. As authorities grapple with the aftermath of the ferry disaster, questions regarding safety regulations and emergency response protocols have surfaced, highlighting the urgent need for enhanced measures to prevent such calamities in the future.

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