Summarizing the many reports that have come out of Southern Africa’s eastern countries after last week’s cyclone, The Guardian notes that the devastating cyclone that hit south-eastern Africa may be the worst ever disaster to strike the southern hemisphere, according to the UN.
Cyclone Idai has swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe over the past few days, destroying almost everything in its path, causing devastating floods, killing and injuring thousands of people and ruining crops. More than 2.6 million people could be affected across the three countries, and the port city of Beira, which was hit on Friday the 16th and is home to 500,000 people, is now an “island in the ocean”, almost completely cut off.
The official death tolls in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi are 200, 98 and 56 respectively. But these totals only scratch the surface; the real toll may not be known for many months as the countries deal with a still unfolding disaster.
Houses, roads and telegraph poles are completely submerged. The Mozambican and South African military and other organisations are working to rescue people from the air, though many are struggling to get supplies and teams to the region because roads and bridges have been ripped up or have huge sinkholes in them.
The Red Cross managed to get one truck containing chlorine tablets and 1,500 tarpaulins and tools to make shelters into Beira before it was cut off. Another was diverted to Manica, while the Red Cross is also trying to bring in more supplies from the island of Réunion by boat. The World Food Programme managed to get food supplies in and is doing airdrops to stranded people.
Thank you to The Guardian for those excerpts from their report.
Today, the 24th March is World TB Day. Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s top infectious disease killer, claiming 4 500 lives each day. Since 2000, 54 million lives have been saved, and TB deaths fell by one-third. But 10 million people still fall ill with TB each year, with too many missing out on vital care.
The World Health Organisation has issued new guidance to improve treatment of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). WHO is recommending shifting to fully oral regimens to treat people with MDR-TB. The recommendations are part of a larger package of actions designed to help countries increase the pace of progress to end TB.
“The theme of this year’s World TB Day is: It’s time to end TB,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We’re highlighting the urgent need to translate commitments made at the 2018 UN High Level Meeting on TB into actions that ensure everyone who needs TB care can get it.”
There’s never a good time to bring up child mortality. Statistics SA explains in a recently released report presenting the Under Five Mortality Rate, that reporting on child mortality is crucial for planning and developing health strategies, policies and interventions to ensure the safety and protection of all children.
To see how South Africa is fairing for the period 2006-2016, and in the hope of getting ever closer to these targets, we present the key findings from the report:
- A higher proportion of deaths for children under 5 were that of males (53%), compared to females (46%). [Male babies are more vulnerable than Females]
- 48% of deaths were from urban areas and 45% were from rural areas.
- By population group in South Africa, the under 5 mortality rate (U5MR) was lowest among White (14,8/1000) and Indian/Asian groups (21,8/1000), followed by Coloureds (30,2/1000) and Black Africans (52.4/1000).
- Provincially, Western Cape (24,5/1000) and Gauteng (34,3/1000) had the lowest U5MR per 1 000 live births, while Free State (68,4/1000) and KwaZulu-Natal (62,6/1000) had the highest.
- In total 54 580 deaths for children under 5 were reported by households.
- KwaZulu-Natal reported the highest (15 843), followed by Gauteng (8 591), however, the absolute number of deaths cannot be compared due to differing population sizes.
- 80% of deaths for children under 5 were as a result of natural causes, the most of which include intestinal infectious diseases, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular disorders specific to the perinatal period. Significantly, influenza and pneumonia – both preventable – were also mentioned and ranked third responsible for the countless deaths.
- The most significant finding, however, is the downward trend in U5MR nationally from 75 deaths per 1000 live births in 2006 to 34 deaths in 2016.
The report highlights that the mortality rate for younger children is high globally as a result of causes such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria, as well as malnutrition, unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene, all of which can either be prevented or controlled.
In the light of the ongoing energy crisis we are experiencing in this country, it may interest Emcomm Operators to note the revolutionary changes that are taking place in the way we produce and consume power for our homes, transportation, and the technology that we use every day. A new book, Energy Choices for the Radio Amateur by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, who developed the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS), explores ongoing changes in the world of power and energy and takes a careful look at the choices we can make. Concepts in the book can help prepare for emergency and backup power at home and in the field.
Energy Choices for the Radio Amateur is available from the ARRL bookstore.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.