Cyclone Idai Response Efforts Must Focus On Both Short-, Long-Term Impacts, Outcomes
The Conversation: Cyclone Idai is over — but its health effects will be felt for a long time
Kerrigan McCarthy, head of the outbreak response unit at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Lucille Blumberg, deputy director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and member of the joint staff at the University of the Witwatersrand
“…Nearly a month on, the flood waters [of Cyclone Idai] have receded. But in some ways, [the affected] countries’ problems are just beginning. That’s because floods always increase the risk of major health problems in affected populations during the weeks and months that follow the actual event. … It’s important that [relief efforts] don’t just focus on the short-term effects of Idai and the floods — it’s crucial to look ahead and try to guard against major health crises. … The Mozambican Ministry of Health is coordinating flood relief efforts with the support of the World Health Organization and many partners, agencies, and non-governmental organizations. … All these efforts are necessary and welcome. But it will also be crucial to look beyond the initial disaster response to ensure the countries that have been shattered by Cyclone Idai rebuild their infrastructure, and develop response plans to deal with future cyclone damage” (4/12).