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There are people dying with cholera symptoms in Beira, the area most affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, the city’s mayor Daviz Simango told Lusa on Monday, adding that fears of an outbreak are heightened.
“We are looking for [means of] diagnosis, but we know about cholera, we know the symptoms and the dynamics,” Simango said.
Cholera is a curable disease but every year it causes deaths in Mozambique during the rainy season.
“If there are six or seven dead in a health unit with the same diarrhoea symptoms, it is a clear indication that cholera is at the door,” he added, describing the current scenario.
With the region flooded and lacking basic sanitation, cholera passes into the water and food chain, creating an environment conducive to its spread.
After the cyclone nightmare, Daviz Simango fears the nightmare of disease outbreaks.
“Doormats and disinfected water must be placed in the accommodation centres” for the homeless improvised in schools, so that those entering “[do] not bring cholera in with them,” he said.
These shelters are often crowded, sometimes with hundreds of people, who are easily exposed.
“People in accommodation centres are living in inhuman conditions,” he said, adding that the city was desperately in need of latrines.
Minister of Land and the Environment Celso Correia said on Sunday that “the priority in the coming weeks is to prevent the outbreak of disease”. “It is important to acknowledge that we are going to have cholera and malaria. We already have roundworm, and there will be diarrhoea too.” Work is being done to mitigate outbreaks, he said.
The strategy includes setting up treatment centres in outbreak areas to contain and treat patients and distributing medical teams throughout the affected territory.
The United Nations has announced the erection of temporary shelter camps, with tents and field hospitals, where the 89,000 homeless – a number that continues to grow daily – will be housed.
The Mozambican authorities’ latest estimate of deaths from Cyclone Idai, presented today, stands at 447.
Source: Lusa / Al Jazeera
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