News / Africa

Alarming Rise of Measles Deaths in Dollo Ado Refugee Complex

A Somali child refugee receives a vaccine for measles at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) transit centre in Dolo Ado near the Ethiopia-Somalia border, August 11, 2011
A Somali child refugee receives a vaccine for measles at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) transit centre in Dolo Ado near the Ethiopia-Somalia border, August 11, 2011

The United Nations refugee agency reports death rates in one of four refugee camps at the Dollo Ado complex in Ethiopia have reached alarming levels.  The UNHCR says it suspects a combination of measles and malnutrition brought on by famine is the major cause of death.

More than 118,000 Somalis live at the Dollo Ado refugee complex in Ethiopia.  More than 78,000 of these refugees, fleeing drought and famine, have arrived in Dollo Ado this year.

U.N. refugee spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says an assessment of mortality finds a sharp rise in death rates in one of the four camps at Dollo Ado.

“Since the Kobe refugee camp opened in June, an average of 10 children under the age of five have been dying each day.  An outbreak of suspected measles, combined with high rates of acute malnutrition is thought to be the major cause of death.  Across all Dollo Ado sites, 148 cases and 11 deaths due to suspected measles have been reported.  This deadly combination has historically caused similar death rates in previous famine crises in this region,” Edwards stated. 

Children who are healthy generally do not die of measles.  But, for those who are malnourished, this preventable disease can be fatal.  And, so it is proving to be for many of the acutely malnourished Somali children, whose health has been severely weakened due to drought and famine.

Kobe houses 25,000 Somali refugees.  The UNHCR and its partners on Monday completed a mass vaccination campaign against measles.  All children between the ages of six months and 15 years were immunized against this killer disease.  

Edwards says vaccination campaigns will begin in other camps in the coming days.  “There is a need to encourage parents to return with their children to health centers for continued treatment for malnutrition, and to actively identify children who are sick to ensure they receive immediate help.  UNHCR is already working with refugee leaders and outreach workers to raise awareness of measles symptoms and hygiene promotion,” he said. 

Most of the refugees arriving from Somalia are from rural areas.  UNHCR spokesman Edwards says the camps in Ethiopia may be the first time the Somalis have ever gone to a health care facility.  He says it is crucial to make the refugees aware of the health and nutrition programs that are available to them.

He says the UNHCR, together with the Ethiopian government and other partners, are working to improve nutrition, water supply and sanitation in the camps.  He says this can help bring down the high mortality rate.  

Measles is a highly contagious disease.  The UNHCR says action to prevent people from dying of this disease is the number one priority facing aid agencies.  




You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs