Nearly 2 million Mozambicans in need after cyclone: U.N.

Some will be in critical, life threatening situations, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, coordinator in the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs, said of the affected people.

We’re now going out on the ground, dropping people off from helicopters to determine what the critical needs are.

Idai flattened homes and provoked widespread flooding after slamming into Mozambique near the port of Beira on March 14. It then ripped through neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi, killing at least 686 people across the three southern African countries.

Mozambique – which has a population of around 30 million – was hit hardest, with tens of thousands of homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced across an area of some 3,000 square km (1,200 square miles) – roughly the size of Luxembourg.

Receding flood waters have allowed greater access, and a greater sense of how much people have lost. Thousands of people, stranded for more than a week by the flooding, are now being moved to safer shelters.

Increasingly, the relief focus has turned to preventing or containing what many believe will be inevitable outbreaks of malaria and cholera.

Though no cholera cases have yet been confirmed, health workers on the ground have reported an upsurge in cases of diarrhea – a symptom of the disease.

We are testing as we go, said Rob Holden, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) incident manager in the capital Maputo. But nonetheless we are treating acute watery diarrhea, it’s the same as treating cholera. That’s just the diagnosis.

Source: Angola Press News Agency