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A medical treatment tent in Beira, Mozambique. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Cholera has returned in the aftermath of the deadly Cyclone Idai that devastated large swaths of southern Africa on March 15.

Why it matters: Catastrophic events have the potential to reverse health, education and income gains in countries like Mozambique and Malawi, which are among the poorest in the world. Approximately half the population in both countries live below the official poverty lines, and many lack access to safe water and toilets.

Background: If untreated, cholera can be fatal. When clinics and hospitals have been destroyed following natural disasters and people are living in close proximity to each other, early detection and treatment are challenging but critical.

What's happening: 1.8 million are need of urgent assistance, with 128,000 living in shelters at 154 sites across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. At least 750 people are estimated to have been killed, but that number continues to climb as bodies are discovered.

  • Mozambique was already dealing with floods that had displaced 60,000 people — pushing many into crowded shelters — when the cyclone hit, destroying homes, clinics and schools in its path.
  • In Beira, Mozambique's fourth largest city, the primary water treatment facility was severely damaged by the storm. At least 1,052 people have been infected by cholera, and one person has reportedly died from the disease.
  • Other diseases such as typhoid may also break out. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which transmit malaria.

Where it stands: The WHO has requested $13 million for medical supplies and disaster response in areas cut off by flooding. It has shipped 900,000 doses of cholera vaccine to Mozambique, and a vaccination campaign is set to begin in Beira on April 3.

  • USAID has sent a disaster assessment response team and committed $7.3 million to the region.
  • NGOs such as Save the Children and MSF are also actively engaged in fundraising and support, with the latter operating a hospital to treat cholera patients in Mozambique.

The bottom line: Though the international donor community has begun responding to the crisis, the specter of cholera death raises further alarm. And with such wide devastation, rebuilding will be a long process.

Tanvi Nagpal is the director of the International Development Program at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Go deeper

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Crypto meets the real world

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The two largest countries in the world seem intent on effectively banning their citizens from participating in crypto, which poses a serious threat to the crypto agenda.

Why it matters: The crypto world is global — but the real world is fragmented into nation-states, each of which claims control of what happens within its borders.

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