As we depart Mozambique for South Africa after a week of covering the aftermath of cyclone Idai, the hallmarks of worst weather related disaster in the southern hemisphere will linger on.
And at the heart of it, it’s the plight of thousands of survivors who’ve lost not only their loved ones and suffered injuries and trauma – but their entire livelihoods have been swept away as they were subsistence farmers.
The World Health Organisation is embarking on a major drive to vaccinate at least 900 000 people in Beira and other cyclone ravaged areas as from early April as cholera looms large. So far 5 cholera cases have been confirmed.
Addressing journalists in Beira on Thursday, the UN Humanitarian Mission in Mozambique said they were ramping up their cholera vaccination campaigns via word of mouth, social and traditional media.
900 000 vaccines are expected to arrive in Mozambique soon.
Besides cholera, Mozambique is also dealing with the rise in malaria cases. Wherever we went, survivors narrated harrowing experiences of how they had to watch loved ones washed away by heavy currents as they fell from trees and collapsing homes.
Some of the patients were also treated for snake bites as they had to compete for safe spots atop trees with snakes fleeing rising waters.
Meanwhile, a leading South African NGO Gift of the Givers is winding up its humanitarian mission in Mozambique after deploying 50 medics, who have distributed 55 tons in food and medical supplies.
NGO founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says they treated over 2000 survivors.
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Meanwhile in neigbouring Zimbabwe, the NGO’s 10 personnel are continuing search and recovery operations for 185 people including 39 children in Ngangu.
On Thursday a high-powered South African delegation descended on Mozambique to hand over R135m in donations from government, NGOs and private companies and individuals.
The delegation was led by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu who was accompanied by the Motsepe Foundation’s Patrice Motsepe and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
Just over R70 million was donated to Mozambique while the rest went to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
President Filipe Nyusi was on hand to receive the donations. President Nyusi thanked South Africa for their goodwill and humanitarian assistance.
For now it’s hoped more lives will be saved as time is fast running out.