Mozambique’s Cyclone Survivors Face Rising Threat of Cholera

BEIRA, MOZAMBIQUE Mozambique health officials are in a rush to stop the spread of the cholera, which has claimed the lives of at least two people in the port city of Beira and made more than 1,000 others ill.

Marcelo Sangolane, 40, is one of the hundreds of Mozambicans who lined up Wednesday to get a cholera vaccination in Beira.

He said what he knows about cholera is that it’s a deadly disease. If it spreads, it kills many people. “I have to be here in line to prevent myself from getting cholera,” Marcelo told VOA.

Mozambican officials and relief agencies have launched a seven-day campaign in four districts in the country’s center to combat the spread of cholera.

The bacterial disease broke out after the cyclone’s heavy winds and rains flooded sewers, spreading dirty water.

Cyclone survivor Aida Franciso is leaving nothing to chance. She said she was in line because she fears cholera is a disease that kills within 24 hours. That’s why she’s was to get the vaccination, Franciso told VOA.

Lucia Luis Francisco, a displaced mother in her 50s, was also lined-up for one of 900,000 cholera vaccine doses sent to Mozambique. She said she wants to be clean and healthy because cholera kills people.

According to Maria Matsine, Mozambique’s deputy health director, the government, with the help of medical aid agencies, has also set up centers to treat and isolate those infected.

We will stop the outbreak, we will save lives, we will save people from getting sick, and we believe that if they don’t become sick, they will have good health. So, it will help them, and they will be able to continue doing reconstruction, Matsine said.

Cholera causes severe diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and death if left untreated.

For survivors of Cyclone Idai it’s yet another challenge to face before relief can turn to recovery.

Source: Voice of America