Massive cholera vaccine planned for cyclone-ravaged Mozambique

Massive cholera vaccine planned for cyclone-ravaged Mozambique

Mozambique's Ministry of Health has confirmed 1,052 cases of cholera in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. As a result of this unhealthy and unfortunate exposure the city has been gripped in the claws of several diseases and the one which can cause an epidemic is Cholera.

Residents of Beira are at greatest risk but cases have also been reported in more isolated areas in Mozambique.

Mozambican workers have restored clean tap water to parts of Beira, a city of 500,000, although large areas of the urban center still don't have access to sanitary water, David Wightwick, the World Health Organization's team leader in Beira, told The Associated Press while visiting a water treatment center.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said in a statement that it is now supporting the Ministry of Health in caring for patients suspected of suffering from cholera at three health centres in the port city of Beira and has been treating more than 200 patients a day.

Some 900,000 oral cholera vaccines have arrived in Beira for the launch of a vaccination campaign later this week.

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Cholera is contracted by consuming food or water contaminated with the fecal bacteria Vibrio cholerae.

"The next few weeks are crucial and speed is of the essence if we are to save lives and limit suffering", WHO's regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement.

The UN has said the cyclone had displaced about 110,000 people, forcing them to take shelter in camps across central Mozambique. As authorities hurried to fix the city's damaged water system, aid organizations reported that some people had resorted to drinking stagnant water or from contaminated wells.

The number of deaths related to Cyclone Idai has risen to 268 in Zimbabwe, the southern African country's information minister said Tuesday.

Idai made landfall on the night of March 14 in central Mozambique, leaving at least 518 people dead, 59,910 houses destroyed, and water and sanitation infrastructures damaged, official statistics showed.