Monday, March 22, 2010
Unicef official fears typhoid and cholera outbreak
Hamish Weatherly, the Pacific emergency coordinator for the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), said there was a risk of the potentially deadly waterborne disease typhoid spreading rapidly after the major storm.
There had already been a typhoid outbreak before the category four Cyclone Tomas hit the north and east of Fiji on Monday and Tuesday last week with winds averaging 175 kilometres an hour.
'Unicef Pacific office is responding to the emergency with specific attention to water, sanitation and hygiene, given that cases of typhoid and cholera are likely to rise in the coming days,' Mr Weatherly said.
Fiji's health authorities reported three cases of diarrhoea with blood, a possible sign of typhoid, on a northern island. The Ministry of Health warned people to boil water or use purification tablets before drinking it.
National Disaster Management Office operations officer Anthony Blake said according to early assessments, 376 homes had been destroyed in the cyclone and another 423 were damaged.-AFP