Nearly 100 people drowned after Cholera misinformation spread in Mozambique – officials


MOZAMBICAN officials have said that misinformation about the cholera outbreak led to a panic, causing many to flee their homes and attempt to reach an island in Mozambique.

This resulted in a tragic incident where approximately 100 individuals drowned aboard an overcrowded makeshift ferry on Sunday, April 7.

High Commissioner of the Republic of Mozambique to South Africa, Maria Manuela Dos Santos Lucas said the residents who were from Lunga district fled aboard boats and headed out to sea, while fleeing from false news regarding the cholera outbreak in the area.

READ ALSO :  Cholera misinformation killed 23 in Mozambique – Police

“This morning I spoke to our minister of foreign affairs at home. It is around 100 people, 100 lives that we lost on that ferry. It is really an issue of misinformation. They (the fleeing Mozambicans) were told that there was a lot of cholera coming in, in that district of Lunga which is in the province of Nampula,” Lucas told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.

“The fishermen with boats want money and they allowed 120 people to go into that boat. If you see the boat, you cannot believe that 120 people were there. I think it is definitely an issue of disinformation.”

Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, is no stranger to fatalities caused by the deliberate spread of false information relating to cholera.

In January, The FactCheckHub reported that Mozambican Police confirmed the death of at least 23 people due to a wave of misinformation about cholera disease in the country.

Jaime Neto, the secretary of state for Nampula province, said: “Because the boat was overcrowded and unsuited to carry passengers, it ended up sinking,” adding that many children were among the dead.

The southern African country, one of the world’s poorest, has recorded almost 15,000 cases of waterborne disease and 32 deaths since October, according to government data.

Nampula is the worst affected region, accounting for a third of all cases.

In recent months, the province has also received a large influx of people fleeing a wave of jihadist attacks in its northern neighbour of Cabo Delgado.

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Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.


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