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Cholera outbreak kills 795 in Somalia since January

MOGADISHU, June 28 (Xinhua) -- An outbreak of cholera/acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) in Somalia has killed 795 people since January, the UN humanitarian agency said on Wednesday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest bulletin that there was a 19-percent decrease in the number of new cases in the first week of June, which can be attributed to timely and effective intervention efforts over the past months.

The UN which also cites figures from the ministry of health of Somalia reported 1979 AWD/cholera cases and 13 deaths between June 12-18. Of these, 337 cases were reported from Wadajir district in Banadir region.

"A cumulative total of 53,015 cases including 795 deaths have been reported since the cholera outbreak started in January 2017. The case-fatality rate of 1.5 percent remains above the emergency threshold of 1 percent," the UN said.

Of the reported cases, 53 percent affected children under five with most of the cases being reported in Wadajir in Banadir region, Harfo in Mudug, Dusamareb in Galgadud and Markka in Lower Shebelle region.

The report said the health cluster, led by World Health Organization (WHO), is working collaboratively with the ministry of health, partners and health authorities to respond to the outbreak.

The UN said lack of rains for consecutive seasons and poor rainfall in Somalia have led to a severe drought that has killed livestock and crops and displaced hundreds of thousands of Somalis, leaving around 6.7 out of 12.3 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

According to the report, nearly 5.5 million people are at risk of contracting water-borne diseases like cholera.

Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease, usually spread by contaminated water and food, and can cause severe diarrhea that, in extreme cases, can lead to fatal dehydration and kidney failure within hours.

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