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Cyclone Idai's Aftermath: African Countries Face Cholera Outbreak and Hunger Amidst Devastation

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Tichanai Mutungwe, a farmworker in Zimbabwe, couldn't save his daughter from the flood waters. Injured and grieving, he says he must get back to work soon so he can support his family.
Photo by Tendai Marima | NPR

Since Cyclone Idai landed in March near the African port city of Beira, Mozambique, at least 600 people have been reported killed by the storm. Across the countries of Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique over 239,000 homes were damaged or destroyed with the U.N. estimating more than 130,000 people are still in temporary shelters.

Widespread hunger could be the areas next issue as floodwaters that left a large part of the inland covered are draining, having destroyed low-lying rice and maize fields in fertile regions. More than 1 million acres of crops were flooded according to Mozambique’s disaster management agency.

Photo by M. Nieuwenhof | World Health Organization

In addition to the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai, the Ministry of Health declared a cholera outbreak on March 27th. Mozambique has confirmed more than 3,100 cases in the wake of the storm. Six people have died from the disease in the past two weeks after the floods left tens of thousands of people stranded in camps with few toilets and little clean water. On April 2nd, health workers in the city of Beira carried out mass vaccinations. A delivery of nearly 900,000 doses, funded by Gavi, arrived and were given out less than 24 hours later.

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