Published: 21:08, February 29, 2024 | Updated: 21:08, February 29, 2024
WHO seeks more funds to curb cholera outbreak in Somalia
By Xinhua

A Somali boy moves through floodwaters in Dolow on November 25, 2023. East Africa is experiencing torrential rainfall and floods linked to El Ni–o climate pattern. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes after the devastating floods caused by the heavy rains struck parts of the Horn of Africa, exacerbating the already existing humanitarian crisis in Somalia. (PHOTO / AFP)

MOGADISHU - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday called for more funds to scale up response activities to contain a cholera outbreak in Somalia as the number of cases continues to rise.

The current cholera outbreak in Somalia is a continuation of the outbreak last year that spread to new districts affected by floods in October 2023, the WHO said.

"There is (an) urgent need for additional operational funds to scale up the implementation of response activities to contain the current outbreak," the WHO said in its latest report released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

A total of 2,943 new cholera cases and 26 deaths have been reported in Somalia since January 2024, according to the Somalian health ministry

A total of 2,943 new cholera cases and 26 deaths have been reported in Somalia since January 2024, according to the Somalian health ministry.

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The WHO said limited access to safe water and proper sanitation among displaced persons living mainly on the banks of River Shabelle is the major driver of the current cholera outbreak. It also said that a new cholera outbreak was confirmed in Hargeisa and Galibey districts of Somaliland as a spillover from the cholera outbreak in neighboring Ethiopia.

The WHO said that together with health partners, it has scaled up the implementation of cholera response activities in districts affected by floods since October 2023.

Somalia has had an uninterrupted transmission of acute watery diarrhea and cholera since 2022 and in the Banadir region since the drought of 2017, according to the WHO.

In 2023, more than 18,304 cumulative cases and 46 deaths were reported in Somalia, including over 10,000 children aged below five years, it said.

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According to the UN Children's Fund or UNICEF, the cholera outlook in 2024 remains dire, with many countries in eastern and southern Africa already experiencing heavy rainfall and El Nino effects, triggering spikes in some countries.

In 2023, UNICEF said, cholera cases increased due to extreme weather events such as protracted droughts, multiple cyclones, heavy rainfall, and major floods.