Over 188,000 need assistance in cyclone-hit Mozambique, says WHO

Women carry food and water aid in northern Mozambique, following the passage of Cyclone Kenneth.
Women carry food and water aid in northern Mozambique, following the passage of Cyclone Kenneth.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JOHANNESBURG (DPA) - More than 188,000 people are in need of health assistance or are at risk of disease in Mozambique's cyclone-hit Cabo Delgado province, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Thursday (May 2).

"At least 188,676 people are in need of health assistance or are at risk of disease," the WHO said in a statement.

"Due to lack of accessibility, the full extent of damage to the health system and the heightened health risks are not yet known," it said.

Cyclone Kenneth, which landed last week, was the second major storm to hit the southern African nation in just over a month, after Cyclone Idai devastated Sofala province in March.

Earlier, Cyclone Idai had left hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced in Mozambique.

So far, Kenneth is known to have killed 41 people.

The WHO said it was redeploying a team of health professionals - who had originally been deployed to the town of Beira in the wake of Idai - to Cabo Delgado.

The WHO is also sending water purification tablets and body bags, among other items.

Rains over the past few days have caused flooding in some areas, the WHO said.

"There is still time to manage the risk of cholera, but we need to act now," said Djamila Cabral, WHO representative in Mozambique.

"We had an incredibly quick response in Beira, and we need to do the same work in Cabo Delgado," she said.