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Mozambique: explosion of cholera cases after Cyclone Freddy

Mozambique: explosion of cholera cases after Cyclone Freddy
Medical staff talk in front of a treatment tent which accomodates patient with ...   -  
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The number of cholera cases in Mozambique has increased tenfold since February, with more than 28,000 people infected in the southern African country still reeling from the deadly Cyclone Freddy, UNICEF said Tuesday.

"More than 28,000 cases of cholera have been recorded in Mozambique," Guy Taylor, spokesman for the Mozambican branch of the UN agency, which has distributed 2.4 million doses of the oral vaccine in the country, told a news conference in Geneva.

"This is ten times the number recorded at the beginning of February, and more than half of the cases involve children," he continued, adding that the numbers continue to rise. The interruption of water supply, hygiene, and sanitation services caused by the cyclone has increased the spread.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease has killed 123 people in Mozambique since late last year. An acute diarrheal infection caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria, cholera is on the rise, especially in Africa, according to the WHO.

According to UNICEF, Freddy destroyed a hundred health facilities and 250 water points in Mozambique, depriving about 300,000 people of drinking water, mainly in the center of the country, one of the poorest in the world.

The cyclone killed at least 86 people in the country of 33 million and left tens of thousands homeless. More than 390,000 hectares of land were also affected by the cyclone, raising concerns about the upcoming harvest.

Freddy first hit Madagascar and Mozambique in late February before returning to the Indian Ocean. It had then regained power thanks to the warm waters and turned around, returning to the continent. On its return, it hit landlocked Malawi hard, killing nearly 680 people and leaving many more missing.

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