Malawi food damage hampers bid to beat cholera

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Flooding in Malawi. Photo: UN Malawi

A cholera outbreak in Malawi has sparked an alert from UNICEF amid fears that it could become as serious as in neighbouring Mozambique.

Efforts to contain the disease, which can kill in a matter of hours, have been hampered by the aftermath of January's flooding in the landlocked south African country.

Daniel Johnson has the details.

Flood damage is hampering efforts to contain a deadly cholera outbreak in Malawi where authorities are "overwhelmed", UNICEF said Friday.

The UN children's agency announcement comes after the landlocked country recovers from its worst flooding in 20 years.

In an attempt to stop the disease in its tracks, UNICEF and partner agencies have distributed prevention kits and vaccines to 100,000 people.

UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that Malawi authorities had confirmed 39 cases of cholera and two deaths from the disease in the last two weeks.

"The capacity of response of health service in Malawi, the problem of access is very worrying…What is at stake now is to respond in order to avoid a propagation of cholera in Malawi."

Mr Boulierac said that all the cholera cases in Malawi were are linked to a larger outbreak in neighbouring Mozambique, where there are more than 3,900 identified cholera cases.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.

Duration: 0’59″

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