From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Jul 16 2011 - 07:46:05 EDT
Millions at risk of cholera in Ethiopia, WHO warns
Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:43pm GMT
(Corrects figure in 12th para for number of refugees in Dadaab to 380,000
from 440,000, after an official correction by UNHCR)
* Outbreak not confined to refugees
* Horn of Africa at risk of disease due drought, movements
* U.N. refugee agency planning airlift of aid and tents
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, July 16 (Reuters) - Five million people are at risk of cholera in
drought-hit Ethiopia, where acute watery diarrhoea has broken out in
crowded, unsanitary conditions, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on
Cholera, an acute intestinal infection, causes watery diarrhoea that can
quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not promptly
given, according to the United Nations agency.
"Overall, 8.8 million people are at risk of malaria and 5 million of cholera
(in Ethiopia)," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in a note sent to
Ethiopian health officials have confirmed cases of acute watery diarrhoea in
the Somali, Afar and Oromiya regions of Ethiopia, he told Reuters. "It is
not confined to the refugees."
WHO is delivering emergency health kits to Ethiopia and helping train health
workers in treating malnutrition and in detecting disease outbreaks, he
Drought across the Horn of Africa, now affecting more than 11 million people
in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia, has increased the risk of the
spread of infectious diseases, especially polio, cholera and measles, the
"So far WHO has not received any report of polio cases, it really important
to help countries to keep their polio-free status," Jasarevic said.
Somalis fleeing severe drought and intensified fighting have been arriving
at the rate of more than 1,700 a day in Ethiopia, where 4.5 million people
now need assistance, nearly a 50 percent rise since April, he said.
Two million children in Ethiopia are at risk of catching measles, a disease
that can be deadly in children, he said.
Ethiopian officials reported 17,584 measles cases and 114 deaths during the
first half of the year, UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said. The
majority of cases were in children.
Measles has also broken out in the sprawling Kenyan Dadaab camps, with 462
cases confirmed including 11 deaths, Jasarevic said.
Dadaab, an overcrowded complex of three camps, now holds some 380,000
refugees, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday.
UNHCR plans to begin a massive airlift this weekend to bring tents and other
aid supplies to the remote border region, spokesman Adrian Edwards told a
A Boeing 747 flight carrying 100 tonnes of tents is expected to land in
Nairobi on Sunday, he said. Six further flights were planned over the next
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres welcomed an
announcement by Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday that Kenya is to
open an extension to the camps to ease congestion at Dadaab, where 1,300
Somali refugees arrive daily.
"It will prevent congestion increasing further in the short term. Obviously
larger needs relate to the need to undertake humanitarian efforts inside
Somalia itself," Edwards said.
The United Nations carried out its first airlift of emergency supplies in
two years to southern Somalia -- an area controlled by al Shabaab rebels --
on Wednesday, UNICEF said.
"Ten health kits, each sufficient to treat 10,000 people over 3 months are
also en route via road," Mercado said.
C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved
cs=%3f> http://s0.2mdn.net/viewad/817-grey.gifFEATURE -Starving Kenyan
children trapped between two worlds
Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:17am GMT
* North eastern Kenya residents feel neglected
* Residents say pastoralism at risk, need investment
* Families survive on a meal a day, severe water shortages
By Katy Migiro
WAJIR, Kenya, July 15 (Reuters) - One-year-old Siad Abdikadir was so weak
that he could not support his own head, resting it on his mother's heavily
He squirmed occasionally, trying to remove the feeding tube from his nose.
But mostly he was quiet, motionless and exhausted.
The malnourished children filling northern Kenya's Wajir District Hospital
represent a fraction of the millions of nomads across the region struggling
to maintain their traditional lifestyles in the face of recurring, severe
"I saw he was deteriorating. He had diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, mouth ulcers
and a cough," said his mother, 28-year-old Habiba Ibrahim.
"But I had six other children at home and no one to take care of them."
Siad's family are what are known locally as 'dropouts' from the pastoralist
ethnic Somali community that lives in Wajir, 600 km (373 miles) from the
Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
His father is a casual labourer, earning 400 Kenya shillings ($4.50) a day
when he can find work.
"Life became very hard," said Ibrahim, swatting a fly away from her baby's
"Work was reliable before but casual workers became too many."
DESTITUTES BEG FOR FOOD
Ten million people across the Horn of Africa are going hungry as the
livestock upon which they depend die off because of severe drought,
according to the United Nations.
In northern Kenya, towns have mushroomed as destitute families camp on the
outskirts, hoping that well-wishers will give them food and water.
They are mostly women, children and the elderly. The young men have migrated
to Somalia and neighbouring districts with their few surviving animals,
although the situation is little better there.
"This is the only meal the family is eating today," said Fatuma Ahmed,
cooking pancakes for her seven children as the sun rose.
"If I get a meal from well-wishers, I cook for the children. If I don't, we
sleep hungry," the 38-year-old widow said, crouched inside her dome-shaped
Somalis' culture and Islamic faith oblige them to share the little that they
"When you go home, you meet people waiting to share your lunch," said
Mohamed Dahiye, a nurse in Wajir hospital.
"You don't even know them, but you have to respond."
MPS "BLIND TO THE DYING"
With recurrent droughts and growing populations, pastoralism is becoming
untenable without massive investment to support it. Columns of dust spin
over the barren landscape, littered with carcasses and abandoned villages.
Roads are just sandy tracks snaking between grey thorn bushes. There is no
mobile phone network outside the major towns.
The region has been neglected since the colonial era.
"MPs are blind to people dying," said Osman Salat, a Nairobi businessman who
came to give some money to his relatives, referring to the region's
The soil is fertile and irrigation could make farming viable. But
development is expensive. Simply installing a borehole costs 5 million
Budgets are consumed by the current crisis. The charity World Vision has
been trucking life-saving water to 24 communities in Habaswein District
since December, at a cost of 250,000 shillings a day, according to project
manager Jacob Alemu.
Dahiye, the nurse, said people needed to consider the future. "Instead of
looking for the root cause, we are mostly being fed with relief food," she
said. "This will not take us forward. We should sit and look for long term
LEARNING THE MODERN WORLD
Some pastoralists are starting to send their children to school, hoping that
education will offer them choices that their parents never had.
"The time of moving around with animals is fading," said 49-year-old Dekow
Farah, who settled in Fini village nine months ago.
Farah had spent his entire life traversing Kenya with his livestock, looking
for pasture and water, with the family's possessions strapped to their
Now, two of his nine children, Zakaria, nine, and Abdi, six, are attending
the local government school, a simple hut made of sticks in the middle of
"Because of droughts like this one, it's good to settle down and take the
children to school so they can learn how to cope with the modern world," he
"I don't see a future in the nomadic way of life."
In the last year, he lost 450 sheep and goats, six cattle and two camels to
the drought. He had 50 sheep and goats and two camels left.
"I settled here so that I can get aid from the government or
non-governmental organisations and I might get casual work," he said,
chewing on a stick.
He hadn't found either yet but he was philosophical: "Everything has a time
limit and one day we are going to get out of this problem, God willing."
($1=89.65 Kenyan Shilling) (Editing by George Obulutsa) (For more Reuters
Africa coverage and to have your say on the
top issues, visit; <http://af.reuters.com/> af.reuters.com/)
C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved
----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----