By Vatican News
Cyclone Idai was just the beginning.
It hit Mozambique, on Africa’s southeast coast, on March 14th leaving death and devastation in its wake. 90% of the city of Beira was destroyed. People, homes, and livelihoods were swept away by the floodwaters. Now those waters have started to recede, cholera is the next challenge that needs to be dealt with.
Médecins Sans Frontièrs, also known as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian medical NGO that provides emergency assistance in conflict zones and disaster areas around the world.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the organization confirms some 1,400 cases of cholera across the country, with over 1,000 cases in Beira alone. But MSF also warns of an increase in other waterborne diseases, as well as malaria, skin infections and respiratory diseases.
To contain the cholera epidemic MSF is working with the Mozambique Ministry of Health, setting up local treatment centres and clinics, as well as helping to run a massive vaccination campaign. In addition to cholera, the extensive damage to health infrastructure and medical supplies still requires considerable effort to restore the functioning of the health system and ensure that people are able to receive basic, maternal and child care or for chronic diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis.
Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Southern Africa. When it swept inland last month, torrential rainfall flooded over one and half million acres of fields, just as subsistence farmers were about to harvest their crops.
That means the next crisis will likely be severe food shortages. And hunger.