Cyclone victims need counselling: WHO Dr Gasasira

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Victims of Cyclone Idai might need psychosocial support following the devastating effects the natural disaster caused mainly in Manicaland Province, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

In an interview with The Herald yesterday, WHO country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said the victims could be suffering emotional trauma due to the magnitude of the cyclone, which saw relatives, friends and property destroyed.

“The way the cyclone occurred might have been a very emotional experience for the victims and they will definitely need counselling,” said Dr Gasasira.

He said WHO was also worried of a potential outbreak of diseases including malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition.

“Before the cyclone, Manicaland has been recording increased cases of malaria and now with what has happened, we are worried that cases are likely to increase.

“Cases not only for malaria, but also diarrhoeal diseases,” said Dr Gasasira.

He said WHO was also closely monitoring potential cases of malnutrition in the province as crops were destroyed and stocks eroded.

Dr Gasasira said WHO had dispatched a team of epidemiological disease and logistics experts on the ground to work with Government and other partners in responding to the needs of affected communities.

WHO regional office also issued a statement saying it will soon be dispatching incident management teams to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

In a statement yesterday, WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said a team had since been sent to Mozambique.

“Deployed over the weekend, an initial surge team of WHO experts is working with the three health ministries and other partners to target support where it is needed most.

“WHO is deploying a full incident management team to Mozambique for scaling up the health response. Similar response actions with the   deployment of health experts, medicines and medical materials and equipment are also ongoing for Malawi and Zimbabwe,” said Dr Moeti.

In Zimbabwe, 139 people  have been confirmed dead and others are missing.

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