In Mozambique, cholera spreads

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VWeeks after cyclone Idai reached Moçambique's coast, the number of people infected with cholera in the Southeast African country has risen to around 5,000. Six people have already fallen victim to the plague. The first cases were reported about two weeks ago in the port city of Beira. Since then, bile-breaking diarrhea has been spreading rapidly in the region. Doctors Without Borders, which has established five cholera treatment centers in the affected region, said its employees in Beira alone had "treated significantly more than 1,000 patients who were thought to have cholera." The organization is concerned that "people continue to drink standing water from the roadside or even remove it from disused community latrines." To control the infectious disease caused by the Vibrio cholerae virus, 745,000 people have been vaccinated. The units had Beira reached on 2 April, already 24 hours later had been started with the vaccinations. According to a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva, the protection against infection by about 85 percent. 150,000 more vaccinations are to follow.

Thilo Thielke

"Despite all efforts, the hygienic situation in the city is still catastrophic," said Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, this newspaper. "Water, garbage and feces mixed – that's a dangerous mix." The first cholera cases were carried to the city by people from the surrounding area who lost their homes. There, the bacteria currently find an "ideal environment". In the face of the crisis, Simango has exchanged his Town Hall room for an office in a warehouse adjacent to a slum. The cholera station is only a few hundred meters away. In addition to the spread of disease Simango worried about the security situation in the city. Many people have lost their entire livelihood. "Violent crime, looting and prostitution are on the rise."

1.8 million people were taken the livelihood

For years, Beira was neglected by the government in about a thousand kilometers away Maputo, so Simango. In the capital, the formerly Marxist party ruled Frelimo, while Beira has always been a center of resistance to the Communists. Even Simango is part of the opposition, formerly a member of the former rebel movement Renamo, today he leads the second largest city Moçambiques without party. On 15 October parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled to take place in the country. Simango now fears that the government could divert aid funds, which are actually intended for the affected region, for their election campaign.

The World Bank estimates the damage caused by the tropical cyclone in one of the poorest regions of the world, meanwhile, to 1.77 billion euros. So far, according to the UN Emergency Relief Office (OCHA), more than 756,200 people have received food aid in Moçambique alone. Welthungerhilfe in Germany estimates that about 1.8 million people were deprived of their livelihoods and more than 700,000 hectares were destroyed by the floods.

Cyclone Idai, which had raged at top speeds of around 200 kilometers per hour, hit the poorest of the poor: the annual per capita income in Moçambique is $ 420. According to the World Bank, less than half of all children finish primary school. Child mortality is also high: 72 out of 1000 newborns die before their fifth birthday.

(TagToTranslate) Daviz Simango (t) Doctors Without Borders (t) World Bank (t) World Health Organization (t) Bacteria (t) Cholera (t) Vaccinations

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