Mozambique + 1 more

Cholera outbreaks kill 49 in Mozambique, Zimbabwe

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MAPUTO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - About 40 people, mostly children, have died from cholera in Mozambique's central Manica province, health officials said on Monday, and 9 people have died from an outbreak of the disease in Zimbabwe's capital Harare.

"I can confirm that 40 people died from cholera in the past four days and this number is likely to increase due to the number of people seeking assistance; 130 others have been admitted to hospital," Mozambican provincial health director Quinhas Fernandes told Reuters.

"The first cases were detected on Friday and up to this morning (Monday) we have registered about 40 deaths from the disease. We suspect more people who drank water from the contaminated lagoon could die or have severe diarrhoea."

Most of the victims were under the age of 14.

The government had sent a team of experts to investigate the outbreak and samples had been sent to a hospital in Beira for testing.

Manica is one of four provinces in the Zambezi valley, which was devastated by severe flooding earlier this year.

Zimbabwe state media reported the troubled southern African country was battling a cholera outbreak that has killed nine people in Harare, as residents grapple with acute water shortages and burst sewers.

"This is the worst ever cholera outbreak in Harare and we are working with other partners to put up strategies to fight the disease," David Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Health was quoted by the Herald newspaper during a tour of a city hospital.

An economic meltdown has left urban residents with burst sewers, uncollected garbage and severe water cuts, forcing many desperate families to fetch unclean water from shallow wells.

Parirenyatwa said authorities would apply heavy doses of chlorine to the wells to try make them safe.

At least 13 people died from cholera last month in Chitungwiza, some 30 km (19 miles) south of Harare, after the town was left without of water for more than a week.

Zimbabwe is suffering a chronic economic and political crisis that left government hamstrung, inflation officially at 231 million percent and basic goods scarce.

(Reporting by Charles Mangwiro and MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare, editing by Gordon Bell and Matthew Jones)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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