Saturday, January 17, 2009

Zimbabwe warns of floods, as cholera crisis deepens

SW Radio Africa (London): Zimbabwe's meteorological office has issued a warning of severe flooding in parts of Matabeleland, as heavy rains are expected to lash the country in the coming days. The head of the Met Office on Thursday said the flood threat could last as long as 10 days, adding that other low lying areas would also be under threat. The rains are expected to be a repeat of last year's thunderstorms that saw the destruction of school buildings, bridges and homes.

But property destruction is likely to be a minor concern, as aid organisations have already warned that flooding will further exacerbate the devastating cholera crisis. The cholera epidemic has officially claimed more than 2200 lives since August and the death toll is likely to keep rising. The World Health Organisation on Thursday reported the toll had risen by more than a hundred deaths in 24 hours, with large numbers of infections reported in new locations across the country. The unofficial death toll is feared to be well over 4000 and with the rainy season still expected to peak there are fears the disease will spread further out of control.

Meanwhile, the cholera spread is gaining momentum in neighbouring South Africa, despite the health ministry's insistence that the cholera outbreaks in the country are unrelated to the Zimbabwe epidemic. Thousands of Zimbabweans have crossed the border to seek the vital treatment almost totally unavailable at their homes, and there have been more than 13 confirmed deaths recorded across South Africa….

Locator map of Zimbabwe by Vardion, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

No comments: