from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THE threat of cholera is growing rapidly in Mozambique, a week after Cyclone Freddy made landfall for a second time in the country.
Flooding caused by the cyclone, compounded by interruption of water, sanitation, and hygiene services, is driving a rapid acceleration in the case numbers.
Reported cases have almost increased fourfold – to almost 10 700 – since early February. More than 2 300 cases have been reported during the past week alone.
A total of 36 districts across eight provinces of Mozambique are currently experiencing active cholera outbreaks, with Inhambane and Zambezia, the provinces impacted by Cyclone Freddy on its first and second impacts, now both declaring outbreaks.
“We are now facing a very real risk of a rapidly accelerating cholera outbreak in Mozambique, a disease which is particularly dangerous for young children, especially those who are malnourished,” said envoy, Maria Luisa Fornara.
She is the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to Mozambique.
“UNICEF is working closely with Government to urgently restore access to health, water, hygiene, and sanitation interventions to areas hit by the cyclone, and to prevent and treat cholera, but additional support is needed to meet the rapidly growing needs of children and families,” Fornara said.
At last count, 35 people had died from the water borne disease in Mozambique. There are fears of outbreaks of diarrhea and malaria.
Estimates from the National Institute of Disaster Risk Management (INGD) suggest that more than 1 500 classrooms have been destroyed by Cyclone Freddy, causing disruption to learning for more than 134 000 students.
UNICEF’s funding requirements are more than US$50 million to respond to the immediate needs and recovery of children and families affected by the cyclone.
– CAJ News