Cyclone Idai witness describes seeing hundreds of bodies by roadside - Audio
Five people have died from severe diarrhoea over the last two days in Munhava, a densely populated neighbourhood of the cyclone-ravaged central Mozambican city of Beira, according to the National Director of Medical Care, Hussen Issa, cited in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.
However, the health service says it cannot yet confirm whether these five victims were suffering from cholera, and is waiting on laboratory tests for a definitive diagnosis.
“Our great concern is diarrhoea”, said Issa. “So far we have registered about 2,800 cases in all of Sofala province. Of these, 1,900 were recorded in Beira”.
He seemed fairly sure that cholera was involved in the Munhava cases. “Our group investigating the outbreak in Munhava found the cholera bacterium in five people. It was forecast that this would happen, because of the existing sanitation conditions and the water that is being consumed. Since yesterday, a health team has been in Munhava distributing Pureza (a water purifier).
He said the Munhava cholera cases had been traced to a single well “and blocking measures are in place to ensure that this water is no longer used”.
Two cholera treatment centres were set up in Beira on Wednesday. The Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, who is representing the government in Beira, took personal control of installing the centres, to ensure that they would be immediately ready to treat anyone with cholera symptoms – which they were by the end of the day.
The Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, put the cholera death toll at six, and told reporters the municipality is working to clean up the city and remove the fallen trees that are still blocking many Beira roads. He said the city council is urging Beira residents to observe rigorously basic rules of hygiene, and is distributing chlorine to purify the water.
It is ten years since cholera last appeared in the city, and Simango believed that people had become used to taking anti-cholera precautions. He suspected that the current outbreak was due to the influx of people from districts such as Buzi and Nhamatanda, fleeing into Beira to escape the floods in the Buzi and Pungoe river basins.
Simango thought it would take three months to complete the Beira clean-up, but great advances had been made over the past two weeks, thanks to the work of 650 volunteers, and the availability of over 40 trucks to remove debris, and 15,000 litres used for the trucks and machinery every day.
To ensure speedy reconstruction of Beira, the municipal council has waived the requirement for a building licence for citizens rehabilitating buildings damaged by the cyclone. The waiver lasts until 31 May, but could be extended.
The Council has also exempted all traders, formal and informal, from municipal taxes for 45 days, in order to encourage the resumption of trade.Source: AIM