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Mozambique Scrambles to Contain Cholera Outbreak 


FILE - A health worker prepares to administer an oral cholera vaccination to a child at a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, April 3, 2019.

VOA U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

Officials in Mozambique are scrambling to contain a cholera outbreak in the north of the country after Cyclone Kenneth devastated the area last month.

Kenneth, the second cyclone to hit the country in five weeks, destroyed health clinics and contaminated the water supply.

The World Health Organization estimates there are "nearly 190,000 people in need of health assistance or are at risk of diseases in Mozambique," U.N. spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric said.

Kenneth struck while Mozambique was still struggling to deal with the impact of Cyclone Idai, which hammered the country's central region just weeks earlier, flattening the port city of Beira and killing more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, cholera cases in Cabo Delgado Province have risen almost five-fold to 64 since the outbreak was declared last week.

A woman and her baby walk past cholera vaccination campaign posters on the first day of the cholera vaccination program at a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, April, 3, 2019.
A woman and her baby walk past cholera vaccination campaign posters on the first day of the cholera vaccination program at a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, April, 3, 2019.

Medical relief agencies such as Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, are supporting the Ministry of Health by providing materials such as tents, water and sanitation equipment for a cholera treatment center in Pemba.

"We have two essential goals now: saving the lives of severely sick patients and containing the outbreak," said Danielle Borges, MSF project coordinator in Pemba. "We need to isolate and treat sick people so they recover, and so that they do not contaminate others."

About half a million cholera vaccines are expected to arrive in the region in the next few days.

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