Survivor of Mozambique Ferry Disaster: “I Lost 17 Family Members


Muaziza Ambaraje, who can’t swim, miraculously survived Mozambique’s worst recent sea disaster. She was aboard the ferry, a regular mode of transport between Lungá and Mozambique Island. Crowding caused water to flood the boat, triggering panic and people jumping overboard. Muaziza lost 17 family members in the chaos, including her parents and grandparents.

Momade Issufo rushed to help rescue victims as soon as he heard about the shipwreck. He describes scenes of horror with bodies piled up on the shore, including children as young as three. His pregnant cousin was among the dead. The traumatic experience has left him unable to work.

Mr. Issufo urges the government to build a bridge to the island to prevent such tragedies. Currently, thousands of fishing boats operate illegally as ferries along the coastline, often overloaded to maximize profits.

The Mozambique government’s response has been limited, with little talk of compensation for victims. However, transport, food, and psychological support are being offered, along with coffins for the deceased.

President Filipe Nyusi condemned those who spread false information causing panic. Boat accidents are not uncommon in Mozambique, but rarely do they result in so many deaths.

The exact number of casualties is disputed, with some local officials reporting higher figures than the government. Swift burials have already taken place for many victims, while grieving families grapple with the pain of loss and gratitude for their own survival.


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