EMERGENCY supplies have been delivered to Mozambique to help fight further outbreaks of animal disease in the aftermath of floods caused by recent cyclones.

Cyclone's Idai and Kenneth struck the coastline of Mozambique in March and April, respectively, causing devastation and heavy loss of life. More than 300,000 farm animals were killed and another six million were put at risk.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has stepped in to offer support to Mozambique to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and Rift Valley fever, which could threaten civilians and livestock.

The assistance is in response to a request by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. Supplies include; laboratory equipment, technical expertise and hundreds of chemical reagents and consumables to carry out early and rapid nuclear-derived tests to diagnose and monitor such diseases in the most hard-hit regions.

The emergency package will go towards strengthening the Central Veterinary Laboratory in the capital Maputo as well as restoring services in strategic laboratories in the cities of Chimoio and Pemba, located in the central and northern regions most affected by the floods.

"After cyclones Idai and Kenneth, animal movements occurred and with those, diseases like foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever may have spread to other provinces," said head of Mozambique's Central Veterinary Laboratory, Sara Achá. "Water- and vector-borne diseases may also have found new ground for their spread, so early and quick diagnosis can help contain this."

The assistance will be used to monitor diseases such as the mosquito-borne Rift Valley fever, which can be passed to people who come into direct contact with infected animals. Apart from the health risk – most human cases are mild but can be severe – the economic impact can be profound due to high mortality and abortions among infected livestock.