Dozens of fragile patients poured into a clinic in the wrecked Mozambican port city of Beira on Wednesday, as the government confirmed the first five cases of cholera in the wake of deadly Cyclone Idai.
Thousands of people were trapped for more than a week in submerged villages after the cyclone smashed into Mozambique on March 14. The storm caused catastrophic flooding and left many areas without access to clean water. Stagnant pools of water are now common throughout hard-hit areas like Beira. First responders now focus their efforts on containing outbreaks of waterborne and infectious diseases.
In Munhava, central Beira, doctors and nurses at a newly set up treatment center said they are treating around 140 patients a day for diarrhea. Many of the patients arrive too weak to walk.
A Reuters reporter saw two men carrying an unconscious woman from a rickshaw into the clinic, trying to cover her naked body with a sheet.
Inside, those too ill to sit lay on concrete benches attached to intravenous drips. Mothers were perched on plastic chairs in the courtyard, trying to get their children to drink rehydration salts from green cups.
“He won’t take it,” said Marisa Salgado, 22, holding her boy, aged 1-1/2, who stared with glazed eyes.
It was the second time she had been to the clinic this week, she said. Her child’s diarrhea returned as soon as she returned home, despite the chlorine solution nurses gave her to purify their water.
“I’m scared. I don’t know what to do,” she said.