The Latest: 5 cholera cases confirmed in cyclone-hit city

BEIRA, Mozambique (AP) — The Latest on southern Africa cyclone (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

The head of the United Nations World Food Program says many survivors of the cyclone in central Mozambique will need help for at least the next six to 12 months to get back on their feet.

David Beasley says “lives are truly in the balance right now.” He spoke after visiting hard-hit areas.

WFP says about 86,000 metric tons of commodities such as cereals and vegetable oil are needed in the next three months as nearly 2 million people are in need of urgent assistance.

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The cyclone washed away about 400,000 hectares (988,400 acres) of crops on the eve of the harvest. WFP says the next main harvest is in mid-2020.

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11:45 a.m.

Authorities in Mozambique say five cases of cholera have been confirmed in the cyclone-hit city of Beira. They are the first confirmed cholera cases announced there since the storm hit on March 14.

The national director of medical assistance, Ussene Isse, says the five cases were confirmed in the poor Munhava neighborhood of Beira, a city of some 500,000 people.

Cholera is a major concern for the hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors now living without clean water and sanitation. The disease is spread by contaminated food and water and can kill within hours.

The World Health Organization has warned of a “second disaster” if diseases like cholera spread in the devastated region.

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11 a.m.

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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi is to address the nation Wednesday about how his government is responding to the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai, which has killed more than 460 people in his country and made 1.8 million people in need of urgent help.

Nyusi last week estimated that 1,000 people had been killed by the cyclone, after he flew over the vast expanses of the flooded plains of central Mozambique. The death toll could be higher than 1,000 said emergency workers, who add that the actual figure may never be known.

Health workers are opening clinics across the hard-hit city of Beira to try to reduce the threat of cholera and other waterborne diseases.

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