Health officials have raised concerns over the spread of disease in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Idai in central Mozambique, eastern Zimbabwe, and southern Malawi as the death toll tops 750 as of Monday, March 25. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported two cases of cholera, though other relief agencies have not confirmed these reports. Malaria and other water-borne or communicable diseases, including cholera, are the most likely to spread in the flooded areas and displacement camps as communities also struggle with limited resources and severely damaged infrastructure.
As of Monday, the death toll from the storm has reached 751, with 446 deaths in Mozambique, 259 in Zimbabwe, and 56 in Malawi. Hundreds more are missing, and an estimated 110,000 people are displaced in central Mozambique. Massive infrastructure damage has been reported, including destroyed roads and bridges. Transportation services remain limited, though Beira Airport (BEW) was not affected by floodwaters. Power and other telecommunication outages persist throughout the affected areas, along with limited access to food, clean water, and healthcare.
Tropical Cyclone Idai first made landfall in Mozambique on March 4 and moved over southern Malawi, shortly after forming, before moving back over the Mozambique Channel. It then strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane. It made its second landfall near Beira late on Thursday, March 14, and moved inland over central Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, take preventative measures to limit spread of diseases (e.g. only use and drink treated water, take preventative measures against mosquito and insect bites, sleep under mosquito nets, etc.), ensure adequate supplies of food, clean water, and medical supplies, anticipate flooding and associated transportation disruptions, including road closures, limited access to healthcare services and other basic necessities, and remember that floodwater may contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
Individuals outside the affected areas are advised to postpone nonessential travel.
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