Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique

The Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango receives an oral cholera vaccination at a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Updated 03 April 2019

Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique

  • Some 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine arrived on Tuesday in Mozambique
  • Humanitarian efforts are turning to preventing further loss of life due to disease

GENEVA: Health officials launched a vaccination campaign in Mozambique's cyclone-hit port city of Beira on Wednesday in an effort to contain an outbreak of cholera that has already infected more than 1,400 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Some 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine arrived on Tuesday in Mozambique, where Cyclone Idai last month flattened homes and unleashed widespread flooding.
The vaccination campaign is currently planned to last six days and aims to immunise 900,000 people across four districts including 500,000 in Beira.
"We are pretty confident that we will reach the target," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said in Geneva.
Some 843 people were killed by the storm and subsequent flooding in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Humanitarian efforts are turning to preventing further loss of life due to disease.
As of Tuesday, Mozambique's health ministry had reported 1,428 cases of cholera including one death since the outbreak was declared on 27 March.
"We shouldn't focus too much on the numbers as there are still a lot of people who are not getting tested for cholera," Lindmeier said. "The important thing is to get sick people into treatment as soon as possible."
Cholera is endemic to Mozambique, which has had regular outbreaks over the past five years. About 2,000 people were infected in the last outbreak, which ended in February 2018, according to the WHO.
The scale of the damage to Beira's water and sanitation infrastructure, coupled with its dense population, have raised fears that another epidemic would be difficult to control.
The United Nations has appealed for $392 million to fund the humanitarian response to the disaster in southern Africa for the next three months. Just $46 million in funding has been received so far.


Suicide attack in Kabul wedding hall kills 63

Updated 37 min 52 sec ago

Suicide attack in Kabul wedding hall kills 63

  • At least 182 civilians have been wounded in the attack
  • The Taliban have condemned the attack and denied any involvement

KABUL: An Afghan official says at least 63 people have been killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a packed wedding hall late Saturday night in Kabul.
Feroz Bashari, a government spokesman, says 182 civilians have been wounded in the attack that took place in western part of the city.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi says the attacker set off explosives among the guests.
The Taliban have condemned the attack and denied any involvement.
Both the Taliban and the local affiliate of the Daesh group have carried out bloody attacks in the capital.