Thursday May 23, 2019

Mozambique Declares Cholera Outbreak after Cyclone Kenneth

The World Health Organization estimates nearly 200,000 people need some kind of medical aid

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cholera outbreak, cyclone kenneth
People cross a section of Pemba, a city that remains flooded on the northeastern coast of Mozambique, May, 2, 2019. VOA

Officials in northern Mozambique have declared a cholera outbreak caused by a lack of clean water left behind from Cyclone Kenneth.

More than a dozen cases have been reported a week after the storm slammed into the East African nation with the power of a Category 4 hurricane and winds as high as 280 kilometers per hour (174 mph).

cholera outbreak, cyclone kenneth
The World Health Organization estimates nearly 200,000 people need some kind of medical aid. VOA

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The death toll stands at 41 and health workers and international aid agencies are desperately trying to prevent more storm-related casualties. The World Health Organization estimates nearly 200,000 people need some kind of medical aid.

Kenneth hit northern Mozambique just six weeks after Cyclone Idai tore across the central part of the country, destroying villages and washing away crops, and nearly wiping out the entire port city of Beria. That storm killed more than 1,000 people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. (VOA)

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Mozambique Scrambling to Contain Cholera Outbreak after Cyclone Kenneth

Kenneth, the second cyclone to hit the country in five weeks, destroyed health clinics and contaminated the water supply

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mozambique, cholera outbreak
FILE - A health worker prepares to administer an oral cholera vaccination to a child at a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, April 3, 2019. VOA

VOA U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

Officials in Mozambique are scrambling to contain a cholera outbreak in the north of the country after Cyclone Kenneth devastated the area last month. Kenneth, the second cyclone to hit the country in five weeks, destroyed health clinics and contaminated the water supply.

The World Health Organization estimates there are “nearly 190,000 people in need of health assistance or are at risk of diseases in Mozambique,” U.N. spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric said.

Kenneth struck while Mozambique was still struggling to deal with the impact of Cyclone Idai, which hammered the country’s central region just weeks earlier, flattening the port city of Beira and killing more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

cholera outbreak
A woman and her baby walk past cholera vaccination campaign posters on the first day of the cholera vaccination program at a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, April, 3, 2019. VOA

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, cholera cases in Cabo Delgado Province have risen almost five-fold to 64 since the outbreak was declared last week.

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Medical relief agencies such as Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, are supporting the Ministry of Health by providing materials such as tents, water and sanitation equipment for a cholera treatment center in Pemba.

“We have two essential goals now: saving the lives of severely sick patients and containing the outbreak,” said Danielle Borges, MSF project coordinator in Pemba. “We need to isolate and treat sick people so they recover, and so that they do not contaminate others.” About half a million cholera vaccines are expected to arrive in the region in the next few days. (VOA)