THE death toll from the worst cholera outbreak in a decade in Mozambique has risen to 97.This is up from the 35 deaths that were reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in early March. Then, the Southern African country had 4 979 cases of the water borne disease.The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) disclosed that Mozambique now has recorded 22 482 cases since the beginning of the year, as of April 2.“Cholera cases have been increasing on a daily basis,” a humanitarian spokesperson said.
There are 40 districts in seven provinces with active cholera cases, most of them in the central and northern regions, and the government identified 16 million people at risk of cholera in Mozambique.“If emergency needs are not properly addressed, the result will be widespread human suffering and loss of life,” the spokesperson of UNICEF warned.
The cholera outbreak has been worsening since January, with an average of more than 100 new cases per day. There have been sharp increases of cholera in flood-affected areas following the landfall of Cyclone Freddy. UNICEF requires approximately US$89,1 million to respond to urgent needs to reach at least 2,7 million children and their caregivers at risk of cholera, or those affected by the cyclone.
The UN agency has distributed over $2,5 million in immediate emergency supplies in response to cholera and Freddy, the longest lasting cyclone in history. It made landfall twice in Mozambique, leaving over 160 people dead and 664 injured. Before Freddy, UNICEF Mozambique was already responding to a complex
humanitarian situation, with 2 million people affected by conflict perpetrated by Islamists in the north.
“The combination of these needs is taxing the response infrastructure in a country with extreme poverty where 46 per cent of children are multidimensionally poor,” according to UNICEF.
It lamented that the nutrition situation is fragile, with malnutrition the largest killer of children under five years old. Cholera is a bacterial disease causing severe diarrhoea and dehydration. It is usually spread in water. Cholera is fatal if not treated right away. Key symptoms are diarrhoea and dehydration