First cases of cholera confirmed in Beira, Mozambique, as fears grow of escalating dangers posed to children

27th March 2019
PRESS RELEASE

First cases of cholera confirmed in Beira, Mozambique, as fears grow of escalating dangers posed to children

UNICEF spokespeople on the ground in Beira are available for interview

Images and b-roll from Mozambique are available here

BEIRA/MAPUTO/GENEVA/DUBLIN, 27 March 2019 – The first cases of cholera have been confirmed in Beira, Mozambican authorities announced today, raising the stakes in an already desperate fight to help hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in increasingly squalid conditions. The five cholera cases were confirmed in Munhava, one of the poorest neighbourhoods. Cholera is a major concern for cyclone survivors now living in crowded camps, schools, churches and any land exposed by the still-draining flood waters.

“This is news we have been dreading,” said UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power. “We have serious concerns for the hundreds of thousands of people who are living in unspeakable conditions in Beira and throughout the affected areas. Cholera and other water-borne diseases can be deadly and children are often the most vulnerable.”

“During emergencies, UNICEF teams are very often among the first responders and we have been preparing for the worst. Our workers on the ground have already set up cholera treatment centers, with the logistical help of the Mozambican military, in four strategic areas in the disaster zone. These centers are specially designed to treat the most severe and vulnerable cases.”

UNICEF’s first priority remains the provision of safe drinking water. Together with partners, UNICEF has rehabilitated the drinking water system in Beira and are working with partners to do the same in other affected areas. UNICEF is also distributing water purification products in affected areas. In addition, another critical focus will be the vaccination against cholera. UNICEF, WHO and partners will soon begin vaccinating around 900,000 people.

In the wake of Cyclone Idai’s devastating impact on Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, UNICEF Ireland has launched an emergency fundraising appeal for children and families impacted. More information on the appeal can be found at www.unicef.ie

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Contacts

Danny Smits, UNICEF Ireland, +353 87 1308070, danny@unicef.ie