Samoa faces possible typhoid epidemic in wake of cyclone

Samoa is facing a health crisis as it prepares for a possible typhoid epidemic following Cyclone Evan's devastating impact last weekend.

A lack of running water and the fact many villages are getting their supplies from unsanitary pools means medical staff are working around the clock to prevent a major outbreak of disease.

Health authorities in Samoa are already struggling with waves of cyclone-related injuries and illness.

"As of now, we are seeing a lot of injuries," public health official Dr Take Naseri told ONE News. "We are seeing a lot of children with diarrhoea."

The main fear now is typhoid, a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted when water becomes contaminated with sewage.

"We are really concerned about (typhoid) and doing all we can to prevent that," said Naseri.

Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe, the CEO of Samoa's Ministry of Health, said the World Health Organisation is already helping to arrange medical supplies.

"We are already working with WHO to try and mobilise some typhoid vaccinations for us," said Toelupe.

The flash floods caused by Cyclone Evan have washed up a raft of debris that is adding to the unsanitary conditions.

Resident Keilani Keilani has told ONE News that the stench of decomposing animals is rife.


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