29 March 2019

Southern Africa: Now Comes the Cholera - Mozambique's Waters of Death

Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikimedia
Aedes Aegypti mosquito, responsible for spreading Dengue fever.
analysis

Two weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped through Beira, Mozambique, it continues to kill. Now comes cholera. They are some of the unluckiest, saddest, and grisliest stories of death you'll ever have to hear: the father killed by a flying plate; the husband decapitated by corrugated iron roofing; the daughter killed by a tree hurtling across the water.

Two weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped through Beira, Mozambique, it continues to kill. Now comes cholera. An outbreak was always feared. It was declared on Wednesday. Cholera - spread by faeces in sewage-contaminated water or food - is the disease that can turn a crisis like this into a full-blown catastrophe.

The cyclone has robbed people of their homes, their livelihoods... and their clean water. As aid agencies raced to reach hundreds of thousands of people - despite roads, power and communication being destroyed - many had to survive amid stagnant waters. For others, around decomposing bodies. Combined, it was a terrifying textbook case of a breeding ground for water-borne and infectious diseases.

"There were days when we just had nothing. Just death and dirty water," says Cecilia, 17, from Beira. Cecilia's house was flattened by the cyclone. Everything her family owned went...

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