Malawi Faces Cholera Outbreak After Floods Lead To Declining Sanitary Conditions

Inter Press Service reports on a cholera outbreak in Malawi’s Nsanje and Chikhwawa districts, located on the southern border with Mozambique, noting that government officials have attributed the outbreak to declining sanitation conditions as a result of flooding in late January. According to IPS, “up to 550 pit latrines were washed away in Nsanje alone, a district hardest hit by the floods,” and “[s]ewage from the latrines has contaminated water sources in the district, including boreholes and dug-out wells, thereby escalating the cholera incidents, according to the assistant Disaster Management Officer for Nsanje, Humphrey Magalasi.”

In addition, the news service notes that camps for those displaced by the flooding “are now congested and the survivors are living in unhygienic conditions.” According to IPS, “There were a few incidents of flooding in Nsanje and Chikhwawa during the rainy season last year and the entire country recorded 76 cholera cases only.” The news service adds, “District Commissioner for Nsanje Rodney Simwaka told IPS that government has been building the capacity of villagers in flood preparedness for the past three years since the area is flood prone” (2/9).