Averting a Cholera Epidemic in the Wake of Dual Natural Disasters
Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall March 15, 2019, it pummeled Mozambique’s fourth-largest city Beira and three neighboring provinces, leaving only 10 percent of the port city intact. An unprecedented cyclone in scope and scale, the storm’s flooding and devastation affected nearly 2 million people in three countries (including Zimbabwe and Malawi) and led to the deaths of approximately 960 people. Images of families being rescued from trees in helicopters, flattened homes along the coastline, and inland roads and bridges shorn in two — cutting off access to thousands in need — triggered an outpouring of international response.
Within days of Idai’s landfall, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) deployed a 17-person Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) team comprised of USAID personnel and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist to lead the U.S. Government response. In close coordination with representatives from the Government of Mozambique (GRM) and humanitarian partners, the DART team assessed the situation on the ground and identified the restoration of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) as one of the top priorities.
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