News / Africa

Somalia Faces Cholera Epidemic

Mothers sit with their children in a compound for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Somali border town of Dhobley on August 11, 2011
Mothers sit with their children in a compound for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Somali border town of Dhobley on August 11, 2011

World Health Organization officials say Somalia is facing "the huge threat" of a cholera epidemic, and that efforts to contain and control the disease must be intensified.  Health officials say overcrowding, bad sanitary conditions and population movements risk spreading the disease rapidly in the famine-stricken country.  

The World Health Organization reports a sharp rise in the number of cholera cases in Somalia this year.  It says 60 percent of 30 randomly collected samples of acute watery diarrhea taken from more than 4,200 people in the capital Mogadishu, tested positive for cholera.

WHO public health adviser Michel Yao tells VOA all signs indicate the presence of a cholera epidemic.

“In the cholera context, even when one case is confirmed, we can say that there is an epidemic.  Now, in Somalia, there has been a kind of regular recurrence of cases of cholera since several years,” he said.  

He notes the number of cholera cases is going up at an alarming rate, especially among internally displaced people.  Dr. Yao says IDPs account for 39 percent of the positive cases; the other cholera victims were residents of Mogadishu.  

The World Health Organization says cholera outbreaks are fueled by the many informal settlements springing up in Somalia, made up of people who left their homes in search of food and other assistance.

Makeshift shelters, poor water and sanitation increases the risk of the spread of cholera, and the WHO says the high number of malnourished children weakened by famine are much more susceptible to waterborne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea.

Dr. Yao tells VOA the cholera situation is very worrisome in Somalia.  In some places, he says, three times as many cases are being reported compared to the same period last year.

“So … this is what we fear as the World Health Organization, that the disease can spread within the most vulnerable population in which we have malnourished children, we have displaced population without proper water and sanitation," he said. "What we are saying is that the numbers are increasing, and we have an increased trend in … acute watery diarrhea and cholera.  And so this is a huge threat and, what we say, a huge threat of epidemic around targeting the affected population in drought-affected areas in Somalia.”

WHO says aid agencies must scale up their efforts to contain cholera and prevent it from spreading, promptly treating the disease, providing safe water, proper sanitation and health education.

WHO has sent 19 diarrheal disease kits to various places in Somalia.  Each kit can treat 100 severe or 400 mild cases.  And several other U.N. agencies have pre-positioned supplies to respond to the needs.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid