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The Mozambican government’s estimate of the number of people in the central provinces of Sofala and Manica affected by cyclone Idai and the subsequent flooding has risen to 794,000, according to the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development Celso Correia.
Correia, who is coordinating government operations in the devastated city of Beira, gave the new figure to reporters at a press briefing on Monday.
He said the confirmed death toll in the two provinces had risen slightly, from 446 on Sunday to 447 on Monday. As communications improve and information trickles in from more remote areas, it is expected that the death toll will rise further.
Correia said that the number of people saved from the flood waters has now risen to 128,941. The group of victims classified as “vulnerable” – the elderly, pregnant women and the chronically ill – stands at 6,563.
The flood waters are gradually receding. In one of the worst-hit districts, Buzi, this means it is no longer necessary to take victims to Beira. The Mozambican relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), is providing tents for Buzi, and has managed to set up two accommodation centres for victims in Buzi town. INGC general director Augusta Maita has guaranteed food and health assistance to these centres.
The fear among health personnel is that water borne diseases could spread through the accommodation centres. According to the National Director of Medical Care in the Health Ministry, Ussene Isse, cited in Tuesday’ issue of the Maputo paper “Noticias”, about 2,000 cases of diarrhoea, among both children and adults, were reported up until Monday in the accommodation centres in Beira and in Nhamatanda district.
A specific centre for treating diarrhoeal diseases has been set up in the Beira neighbourhood of Macarungo, and others will be established in Dondo, Buzi and Nhamatanda districts.
“This is a major emergency, for which we need a lot of collaboration from the population, from religious and community leaders, and from other prominent figures in our society”, said Isse.
School in the cyclone-hit districts of Sofala reopened on Monday. The cyclone almost totally destroyed many of the schools, wrecking over 5,000 classrooms. In the case of schools that were reduced to rubble, the government is using tents as temporary classrooms, while for those that merely had their rooms blown off, the authorities are considering using tarpaulins to protect the children from the elements.
— UNICEF Moçambique (@UNICEF_Moz) March 26, 2019