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Cholera hits Cyclone Kenneth ravaged districts in Mozambique

At least 14 cases confirmed and number expected to rise

Pemba – CARE is mobilizing resources to respond to the latest cholera outbreak in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado. Sustained rains caused by Cyclone Kenneth have led to the destruction of sanitation facilities as well as the contamination of most sources of drinking water.

Daw Mohamed, humanitarian director for CARE International said:

“From our previous experience responding to Cyclone Idai (which struck Mozambique in March 2019), we anticipated such a situation to happen. We have already mobilized hygiene kits and sanitation supplies, which will be in the affected districts imminently. However, the needs remain more than we handle so massive support is required in funds, expertise and resources.

“CARE is scaling up its efforts and committing more staff to support the affected people to ensure that we help to curb the disease before it spreads further,” he explained.

Assessments by CARE and its partners, early in the week, show that many people in the affected districts are drinking water from unprotected wells. A recent visit to the cyclone ravaged island of Matemo showed that all four water points on the island were contaminated. This is exposing the affected communities to cholera and other waterborne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea.

“The situation is dire, and we need to move in fast if we are to avert an outbreak as one that hit Beira in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai,” added Mohamed.

“However, we are still struggling to access some of the areas especially the islands as they can only be reachable by air. This is a big logistical challenge, which can only be surmounted if we get more funding and aerial support. Currently, we are running on a tight budget despite the growing humanitarian needs.”

The city of Beira registered nearly 4,000 cholera cases after Cyclone Idai hit the country, which caused several deaths. The threat of cholera has also been lurking in Cabo Delgado since Kenneth made landfall last week, with organizations such as CARE pre-positioning supplies to respond to a likely outbreak.

So far, CARE and its partners are shipping in water and sanitation items such as buckets, water treatment chemicals, which will be distributed to areas that are inaccessible by road, with shelter specialists on hand to offer technical services during the response.

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Note to Editors

  • Cyclone Kenneth crashed into the province of Cabo Delgado on April 25, flattening entire villages with winds of up to 280 km/h and killing at least 41 people.
  • Fourteen cases of cholera have been detected, 11 of which are in the port town of Pemba and three in the district of Mecufi.
  • Kenneth struck while Mozambique was still struggling to deal with the impact of Cyclone Idai, which hammered the country's central region just six weeks earlier. Idai destroyed the port city of Beira and caused devastating floods and leaving health officials and international aid agencies battling cholera. The cyclone was blamed for the deaths of more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

CARE has spokespeople available in Mozambique to discuss emergency response efforts for both cyclones. Contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada
darcy.knoll@care.ca | 613-228-5641

 

For queries before 6:30am EDT, contact:

Henry Makiwa
Senior Humanitarian Communications Coordinator | CARE International
makiwa@careinternational.org