Home Society NICD: Water-borne diseases pose greatest risk following cyclone Idai

NICD: Water-borne diseases pose greatest risk following cyclone Idai

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Image by: Reuters

Water-borne diseases such as Cholera, emanating from the devastating Cyclone Idai, remains the biggest risk for the affected people of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and  Malawi.

This is according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) which gathers intelligence on communicable diseases and provides expertise to southern African regions regarding outbreak and communicable disease.

“Typhoid, cholera, common causes of gastroenteritis, I think there’s a critical need to ensure safe water supply and other quick foods,” said NICD’s Professor Lucille Blumberg.  “I think the health facilities are obviously not functioning so everyday illness and injuries related to other disasters are critical to address.”

The effects of Cyclone Idai have been catastrophic in Malawi. The heavy rains and floods washed away crops just one month away from harvest in southern Malawi.

Idai has killed more than 700 people across three countries with over 400 of those in the Mozambican city of Beira. About 80 members of the South African air force, army and the medical health services are providing disaster relief in Mozambique.

About 80 members of the South African air force, army and the medical health services are providing disaster relief in Mozambique.

Rescue SA’s Ian Shear said there is a growing need for more aid to assist those affected by the floods.

“A lot of the rescue is done hanging from below the helicopter on long lines,” said Shear, “and they would then approach people and they would wave us off saying ‘look we just want food, water, blankets, malaria tablet… more aid because we don’t want to move. This is where we live and we want to continue…if we’re moved away, we might never get back here.”

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