Cholera killed at least 12 people in Zambia's capital Lusaka after floods caused by torrential rains contaminated drinking water, a health ministry official said on Tuesday.
Health Ministry spokesman Rueben Mbewe said 562 cases of cholera were recorded in Lusaka out of 694 reported cases across the southern African country last week and most of the sick came from areas hit by serious flooding.
"The floods have worsened the situation in that this has caused the flooding of pit latrines causing the effluent to... mix with drinking water," Mbewe said.
Mbewe said authorities were providing chlorine to help people purify drinking water.
The government said last week that eight people had died earlier this month after drowning and hundreds more were displaced by floods.
Officials at the Kariba dam on the border with Zimbabwe were forced to open flood gates, increasing the chances of more downstream flooding on the Zambezi river in Mozambique.
Mozambique is already on flood alert - one level below declaring a disaster.
Last year, heavy rains in Zambia and Malawi caused flooding in Mozambique that killed 45 people and left 285,000 homeless.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mart 2010, 13:08