After Tropical Storm Idai helpers fear the outbreak of life-threatening diseases in the affected countries Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. There is a "high risk of water-borne diseases" such as cholera or typhoid fever, said President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRK) Elhadj As Sy. Hundreds of thousands of people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Particular attention should be paid to hygiene facilities and clean water.
The government in Mozambique has already registered suspected cases of cholera. He can not yet confirm these cases, Sy said. "We are preparing for the worst." Many water-borne diseases are a big risk, but preventable. Whether it comes to epidemics, depends on the quality and speed of help on the ground.
On 15 March, the severe tropical storm had devastated large parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and flooded large areas of land with heavy rains, especially in Mozambique. About 700 people have died according to government information. The actual number of victims should, however, be much higher, according to the helpers.
To the of the cyclone Idai caused plight, now also announced the US military to support the helpers. In addition, organizations like Welthungerhilfe and Doctors Without Borders want to further expand their aid operations. While the exact needs would still be evaluated, bring the US military already resources, said US High Command for Africa. The Department of Defense was "ready to help save lives and alleviate the need with timely and significant support."
The disaster area stretches for hundreds of kilometers from Mozambique Zimbabwe and Malawi. Aid organizations speak of a major humanitarian crisis. According to UN estimates, around three million people are affected. In Mozambique alone, around 400,000 people are said to have become homeless at times.
Worried about children separated from parents
Many places in Mozambique are still cut off from the outside world because of the floods and can only be reached by boat or by air. In the city of Beira, there was still no electricity.
Helpers also worried about the thousands of children who lost their parents or were separated from their families because of the storm. "We now have to act very quickly so that these children do not fall into the hands of traffickers or become victims of sexual violence or premature marriage," said Claire Rogers, head of World Vision Australia. The need is great. Babies who were treated at the hospital in Beira died when the electricity went out for their care, as Rogers described. The hospital is powered by generators.
In Mozambique's neighboring state of Zimbabwe, the number of fatalities resulting from the storm has risen to 259, according to the government. However, the government issued an all-clear: A dam in the district of Chimanimani, which previously threatened to break civilian protection, was declared safe. Previously, the authorities had called for thousands of people to evacuate downstream.