NICD: Food, water-borne diseases remain greatest risk in wake of Cyclone Idai

Idai has killed more than 700 people across three countries with over 400 of those in the Mozambican city of Beira - the other deaths were recorded in Zimbabwe and Malawi.

FILE: Medical team members work at the port in Beira, Mozambique on 22 March 2019. Aid workers faced disarray and a clamour for help on 22 March, as they headed out across central Mozambique, battling to help tens of thousands of people battered by one of southern Africa's most powerful storms, cyclone Idai. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says food and water-borne diseases remain the greatest risk in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai.

Idai has killed more than 700 people across three countries with over 400 of those in the Mozambican city of Beira - the other deaths were recorded in Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is on the ground working with humanitarian aid groups to provide rescue and relief efforts.

Those rescued are now receiving treatment at make-shift clinics.

The NICD’s Professor Lucille Blumberg said: “Typhoid, cholera, common causes of gastroenteritis... I think there’s a critical need to ensure safe water supply and other quick foods. I think the health facilities are obviously not functioning so everyday illness and injuries related to other disaster are critical to address.”

Rescue SA’s Ian Shear said the situation remains chaotic.

“A lot of the rescue is done hanging from below the helicopter on long lines [and] they would then approach people and they would wave us off saying 'look we just want food, water, blankets, malaria tablet... more aid because we don't want to move. This is where we live and we want to continue...if we're move away, we might never get back here.'”