Malawi fears major outbreaks of waterborne diseases after cyclone Freddy

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 17, 2023
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BLANTYRE, Malawi, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Malawi is facing a potential outbreak of waterborne diseases following Cyclone Freddy, which was "the worst natural disaster in decades," Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said on Thursday.

At least 326 people were killed, and the number of people displaced has more than doubled to 183,159, the president told reporters.

Health experts raised concerns that the Cyclone Freddy-induced floods, strong winds and mudslides, could cause waterborne diseases such as cholera.

Charles Mwansambo, the Secretary for Health, has acknowledged those risks, but he said the government is working closely with health agencies to minimize the threat.

"The ministry and other health agencies are working hand in hand to tighten the efforts and make sure that the response is immediate," Mwansambo said in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.

Malawi Red Cross Society director of programs and development, Prisca Chisala, said that many of the victims residing in evacuation camps are at high risk of contracting cholera due to lack of sanitation facilities.

"It has become increasingly challenging to regulate the provision of clean water and food, posing a potential threat to the lives of many," she added.

Civil society organizations in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts in Lower Shire Valley, have also sounded the alarm about the potential cholera outbreak in the camps, as many victims lack toilets and other water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities.

The country has already recorded 54,120 cholera cases with 1,660 deaths since March 2022, according to the health authorities. Enditem

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