Double whammy for Freddy victims – Cholera hitting camps

Society of medical doctors in Malawi fears for some serious repercussions as most Cyclone Freddy victim camps are still lacking basic hygiene support.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the society tour in camps on Wednesday April 5th 2023, president of the society Dr Victor Mithi, said the fight against cholera might face a huge setback as people living in camps continue to meet problems in regard to simple and primary public health guidelines.
He said challenges such as lack of descent  toilets, safe water, adequate food and other sanitary products risk further spread of cholera.

Dr. Victor Mithi
“In our visit, it is clear that source of clean  water is a huge problem on top of other medical issues. Most camps are far from boreholes or tap water. Those close to tap water mostly have dry taps either due to infrastructure damages or electricity related issues,” he explained.
“The camps are also congested which makes sanitation a challenge creating a breading ground for disease spread.”
The society president who is a medical doctor and an experienced disaster public health practitioner with experience in leading medical responses to previous cyclones like idai in 2019 and ana in 2022, said cyclone Freddy is unique and it’s effect is far beyond the past cyclones not only because of it’s impact but also it happened when the nation was already battling cholera pandemic. The impact of the two have created a unique crisis that needs to be addressed with the utmost public health seriousness.
In March this year, most parts of the Southern Malawi were affected by Cyclone Freddy that has claimed a thousand plus lives and displaced more than half a million others.
Crops, animals and food reservoirs were equally washed away, leaving families in devastating conditions as they await for a possible hunger strike in the subsequent year.
Also, due to a shortage of a number of equally important resources, victims are living in congested camps, mostly in classrooms, a condition that leaves them vulnerable to  different diseases such as Cholera, a vice that is still making deadlines in most parts of the country.
Despite a number of interventions by different countries, organizations and well wishers, the living conditions of cyclone Freddy victims are expected to worsen as experts says the idea of keeping these people in camps is very costly and will not fix any problems in the long run.

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