Northern Mozambique dealing with cholera outbreak following 2nd cyclone

Officials declared a cholera outbreak in northern Mozambique on Thursday, a week after cyclone winds, floods and heavy rains hit the area.

Cyclone Kenneth crashed into the province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday last week, flattening entire villages with winds of up to 280 km/h and killing at least 41 people.

Fourteen cases of cholera have been detected, 11 of which are in the port town of Pemba and three in the district of Mecufi, the provincial health director, Anastacia Lidimba, told local television station STV.

Kenneth struck while Mozambique was still struggling to deal with the impact of Cyclone Idai, which hammered the country’s central region just six weeks earlier.

Medical staff spray disinfectant at a cholera treatment centre set up in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Beira. (Mike Hutchings/Reuters)

Idai destroyed the port city of Beira and caused devastating floods and leaving health officials and international aid agencies battling cholera. The cyclone was blamed for the deaths of more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The World Health Organization said earlier at least 188,676 people were in need of health assistance or were at risk of disease with 17 health facilities damaged and the number expected to increase as inaccessible areas open up.

A cholera outbreak was declared in central Mozambique at the end of March, with most of the cases in Beira. More than 1,500 cases were confirmed and at least two people died. UNICEF and the World Health Organization supplied nearly one million doses of vaccine to the region the following week. 

Cholera is an intestinal infection which can cause diarrhea, cramping, nausea and vomiting. It is most often acquired by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. 

This is the first time on record that two powerful storms had hit the southern African country in such a short space of time wrecking homes, flattening villages and destroying crops.

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