Cholera infects 1,400 in cyclone-hit Mozambique

Leslie Hanson
April 6, 2019

Over 500 cases of cholera have been reported in Beira alone.

"Hundreds of thousands of people are living in bad conditions in temporary settlements without safe drinking water and sanitation, putting them at serious risk of cholera and other diseases", said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated.

Unicef Mozambique deputy representative Michel Le Pechoux said: "The procurement of vaccines is one of several approaches Unicef and its partners are taking to curb the spread of cholera, along with re-establishing water treatment systems and distributing water purification products".

The cholera outbreak has grown swiftly since it was declared last week with five confirmed cases.

By 2 April, more than 1,400 cases of the disease had been reported, the vast majority in the central port city of Beira, already reeling from massive flooding and devastating winds.

Lucia Luis Francisco, a displaced mother in her 50s, was also lined-up for one of 900,000 cholera vaccine doses sent to Mozambique.

The government says that 268 people are now known to have died in the floods and landslides triggered by the storm on 15 March. Of these, 1,218 cases were diagnosed in Beira, 144 in Nhamatanda district and 66 in Dondo.

The overall death toll from the cyclone is now 598 in Mozambique, with more than 300 deaths in neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Almost 900,000 doses of the cholera vaccine procured by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have arrived in Beira, Mozambique and the vaccination campaign will begin imminently, Unicef said.

"The next few weeks are crucial and speed is of the essence if we are to save lives and limit suffering", WHO's regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement.

The Mozambique Red Cross has been on the ground even before Cyclone Idai struck and continues to support more than 200,000 people across the disaster zone.

It damaged or destroyed 54 health centers across central Mozambique, further challenging efforts to contain cholera and other waterborne diseases such as malaria.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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