Malawian health authorities have warned of an increased cholera risk after the devastation caused by Cyclone Freddy, which destroyed water systems and toilets.
The country was already battling its deadliest cholera outbreak on record when the storm landed last week, causing mudslides and flooding and damaging infrastructure. Since it began last year, the outbreak has infected about 30,600 people and killed more than 1,700.
“With the floods, people’s toilets have been washed away and most people have no access to safe drinking water,” Storn Kabuluzi, health services director, told the AFP news agency.
He said the country faces an “immediate danger” of surging cholera cases.
After a record-breaking rampage, Freddy caused 579 deaths in three Southern African countries, including Mozambique and Madagascar. Malawi was hit the hardest with at least 476 victims and nearly half a million people displaced.
“In the face of crisis and chaos, it is children who are the most vulnerable,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF’s regional director for East and Southern Africa.