WHO assists 1.6 million displaced people in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is providing urgent humanitarian assistance to the 1.6 million people displaced by flood in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement in Abuja on Thursday that the flood was triggered by Tropical Cyclone Idai.

“The flooding triggered by Cyclone Idai significantly increases the risk of malaria, typhoid and cholera. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has estimates that a total of 1.6 million people have been affected in the three countries. The state authorities in the three countries continue search and rescue missions. However, in Malawi 922,000 people have been affected, with 82,700 people displaced, 577 injured and 56 dead. The cyclone also stormed through Chimanimani District in Zimbabwe causing 65 deaths and displacing between 8,000 and 9,600 people. The Government of Mozambique estimates that more than 1,000 people may have died, with 600,000 persons affected in the northern provinces of Niassa, Tete and Zambezia,’’ she said.

Moeti said the OCHA would stand with the affected people and organise assistance to address their urgent health needs.

“WHO is deploying a full incident management team to Mozambique to scale up health response, similarly, health experts, medicines and medical materials and equipment are also ongoing for Malawi and Zimbabwe. Most of the affected populations are now housed in temporary shelter centres, the emergency supplies are providing support to outreach clinics and to better manage potential outbreaks of waterborne diseases among others in those centres.The Cyclone Idai, which formed over the northern Mozambique Channel made landfall at the port of Beira leaving 500,000 residents without power and means of communication.’’

Moeti said with the disruption of health services, the WHO and its partners are supporting the three governments in ramping up the health response to the disaster.

“An initial surge team of WHO experts is working with the three health ministries and other partners to target support where it is needed most. WHO has already dispatched medicines for injuries and primary health care including malaria treatment to the affected countries. The supplies only cover the primary health care needs for 10,000 people for three months, including treatment for severely injured persons.”

Bilkisu Pai