Saturday, August 13, 2011

A cholera epidemic is added to the famine in Somalia crisis

The UN said today that "worst" of the crisis caused by famine in Somalia is not over yet, after confirming that there is an epidemic of cholera in the current state of poor health, malnutrition and overcrowding of displaced people, is highly dangerous. "Do not make the mistake of believing that the worst is over, this crisis continues, with mass movements, risk of spreading disease, overcrowding in camps and situations that go beyond humanitarian workers in the field," the spokesman said the High Commissioner UN for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards.

In this set of problems now add the confirmation of a cholera outbreak in Mogadishu, where they have reached tens of thousands of displaced persons from the southern regions of Somalia most affected by drought causing famine. In a press conference, the expert from the World Health Organization (WHO), Michel Yao said that in laboratory tests have confirmed "a number of cases three times higher compared to last year, which we can say that there is a cholera epidemic in progress.

" Cases of cholera have been confirmed mainly in Mogadishu, with analysis that points to a rate of 40 percent of positive cases among the displaced and the rest between the local population. Also, there have been outbreaks in southern areas of the country, several of them under control.

Also in Mogadishu have confirmed cases of measles and dengue, as well as affected by the latter disease in Somaliland (self-declared independent region). The rapid spread of cholera was attributed by Yao to the informal settlements of displaced people have increased, but in extremely precarious conditions, the limited access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services, the high rate of child malnutrition, as well as the limited capacity of health centers.

The expert admitted that his organization fears that a rapid spread of infectious disease as a result of "population movements, we can not control." Data collected by WHO, 53 percent of cholera cases were children.

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