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Cyclone Freddy: Children are at risk of Cholera in Malawi, Mozambique

Children in camps like this are at risk of cholera, says UNICEF Children in camps like this are at risk of cholera, says UNICEF Pic By Zodiak

Cyclone Freddy has moved on from Malawi, but it has left behind it a trail of destruction and the risk of an unprecedented cholera outbreak.

Cholera which has been in Malawi for a year now is usually spread through contaminated water and, if left untreated, it can be fatal within hours, even in previously healthy people.

Poor sanitation perpetuated by a lack of running water and adequate toilets in evacuation camps is exposing survivors of Cyclone Freddy to cholera and other waterborne diseases.

This fear is substantiated by UNICEF which, through a press statement issued Sunday, warns millions of children are at risk in the face of a potential increase in cholera cases in Malawi and Mozambique in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Freddy (TCF).

The organization says flooding and damage caused by the cyclone have led to death, devastation of infrastructure and social services and displacement, while hampering access to health and other basic services, which will almost certainly exacerbate the cholera outbreaks the two countries are experiencing.

It is then appealing to well-wishers to help in countering the possible threat.

Meanwhile, Malawi’s Parliamentary Committee on Health Chairperson Dr Mathews Ngwale says government and other stakeholders should intensify civic education and sanitation in evacuation camps and areas affected by the floods to thwart a possible surge in cholera cases.

Dr Ngwale notes that the floods that swept most parts of the Southern Region have exposed people to waterborne diseases hence the need to intensify civic education on prevention.

“The floods left many exposed to several diseases. People in evacuation camps need assistance. Above all, they need civic education on how best to deal with the possible threat of diseases,” said Dr Ngwale, who is also a medical practitioner.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Spokesperson in Malawi Adrian Chikumbe says they are already on the ground to intensify sanitation and counter possible outbreaks in evacuation camps.

Chikumbe says they resumed the Tithetse Kolera (End Cholera) Campaign Tuesday, which was halted following the cyclone that disrupted health services, especially in the Southern Region

“We are tirelessly working with various stakeholders to ensure that victims of Cyclone Freddy are not exposed to diseases. We have resumed activities of Tithetse Kolera Campaign after disruptions caused by Cyclone Freddy,” said Chikumbe.

Cyclone Freddy has caused more than 500 deaths in Malawi and affected more than half a million people

More than 500 emergency shelters have been set up for survivors.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 22/03/2023

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