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Cholera Kills 32, Cholera Fake News Another 121 Since October 2023

Cholera Kills 32, Cholera Fake News Another 121 Since October 2023

At least 121 people, 98 of them in a single incident, have died due to waves of misinformation about the cholera outbreak in Mozambique, according to official data made public since October last year.  

Most of the victims, 98 people, lost their lives in a single incident when a boat left the administrative post of Lungo, in the district of Mossuril, bound for Ilha de Moçambique and sank a week ago, killing 55 children, 34 women and nine men.

According to the Mozambican maritime authorities, the fishing boat, which was carrying 130 people, was not authorised to carry passengers. The people were fleeing an alleged outbreak of cholera and bound for Ilha de Moçambique. The shipwreck happened around 100 metres from the coast.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi visited the Lunga administrative post to comfort the bereaved families on Thursday, recognising that the shipwreck was the result of “misinformation by people with obscure interests”.

“Don’t allow rumours,” Filipe Nyusi told the victims’ families.

Records show that 23 more people have lost their lives since October 2023 as a result of waves of misinformation on cholera-related issues, said the commander-general of the Mozambican police, Bernardino Rafael, on 17 January.

The majority of community leaders and health technicians have been killed and injured by locals under allegations that they were bringing the disease to the communities.

“The police were called to intervene in 27 violent cases related to cholera,” in which community leaders were the main victims, said the commander-general of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM).

Between May and November, at least 16 people were arrested in Sofala province, in the centre of Mozambique, for passing on misinformation about cholera, the authorities said.

According to the commander-general, some Mozambican police officers also ended up being attacked during skirmishes when they were trying to ensure public order and safety.

According to figures consulted by Lusa earlier this month, the Mozambican health authorities have registered 14,712 cases of cholera in five months, which have caused 32 deaths during the current outbreak.

Cholera is a treatable disease that causes severe diarrhoea and can lead to death from dehydration if not treated promptly.

The disease is largely caused by the ingestion of contaminated food and water due to a lack of sanitation networks.

Last May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the world will have a shortage of cholera vaccines by 2025 and that one billion people in 43 countries could be infected with the disease, pointing to Mozambique as one of the countries most at risk in October.

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