Mozambique officials have confirmed 139 cases of cholera, a deadly infection of the small intestine if left untreated. The cholera epidemic resulted from Cyclone Idai, which has killed at least 468 people in Mozambique, eastern Zimbabwe, and Malawi, government officials have reported.
Cholera is a waterborne disease, thriving in conditions of poor hygiene. It causes acute diarrhea that is fatal if untreated. More than 900,000 doses of cholera vaccine have been rushed to the country, according to the World Health Organization.
“We are expecting more cholera cases, and we are prepared for this,” said Emmy Batey of COSCA, an emergency aid consortium. “We have put all the measures in place to try to mitigate cholera’s spread as much as we can.”
Cyclone Idai on March 15th battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi on March 15 with 140 miles per hour winds and torrential rains, flooding much of Mozambique.
Brea, a coastal city in Mozambique, with a population of 500,000, was hit the hardest by the cyclone. The United Nations World Food Program said roughly 1,200 square miles of land had been flooded.
Rescue workers can see decomposing bodies floating in the stagnant waters. The hurricane has displaced more than 500,000 people in the three countries. It is not clear when all of the bodies will be found.
The International Organization for Migration said Cyclone Idai could rank as the worst disaster to hit the region in decades.