Colombia: Swine influenza OCHA Situation Report No. 1
- On 27April, the Government of Colombia (GoC) issued a declaration of state of national emergency in view of the possible outbreak of the swine flu.
- According to PAHO, there are 4 suspected cases in Colombia (3 in Bogotá and 1 in Cartagena) since the beginning of the epidemic in Mexico.
- National authorities and the UN have activated their contingency plans
II. Situation Overview
On Monday April 27th, the GoC declared the national state of emergency to take actions to prevent an outbreak of the swine flu. It should be noted that there have not been confirmed cases of the virus in Colombia so far. Colombian Social Welfare Minister said that the measure allows the Government to allocate around $6.4 million dollars to purchase antiviral drugs and to improve prevention measures with a view to contain an eventual epidemic.
According to PAHO, out of 12 cases originally reported as suspicious, 4 are under observation (3 in Bogotá and 1 in Cartagena) due to possible infection with the A\H1N1 virus. 8 cases of people that came from Mexico and had some flu symptoms had been discarded. For more information please see PAHO webpage.
The UN, led by the Humanitarian Coordinator and PAHO, with the support of UNDSS and OCHA, is monitoring the situation and had activated contingency plans. Relevant information is being shared with Embassies and NGOs in Colombia.
III. Humanitarian Needs and Response
Currently, there is a limited amount of antiviral drugs in Colombia. Health authorities have announced the purchasing of some additional antiviral drugs. Precautionary measures are being implemented at airports and international ports. Bogotá is in yellow alert, which implies stand-by health workers in Hospitals. In addition, the National Red Cross announced that 35,000 volunteers are ready in the 32 departments to complement the authorities' efforts.
The UN System, under the leadership of the CR/H, is monitoring the situation working very closely with their government and NGOs.
PAHO is providing technical assistance to the Social Welfare Ministry and Health Institutions.
Since the declaration of the emergency, the UN system has activated its contingency plan establishing a task force to support the RC/H with staff from PAHO/WHO, OCHA, and UNDSS, including a common humanitarian strategy. On April 28th, the Health Working Group agreed in an extraordinary meeting to circulate the inter agency pandemic guidelines and disseminate information to field offices.
For more information please contact:
María José Torres, Head of Office
Torres8@un.org, (57 1) + 6221100 Bogotá, Colombia
Gianni Morelli, Senior Coordinator
email@example.com, (57 1) + 6221100 Bogotá, Colombia
Héctor Latorre, Information Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org, (57 1) + 6221100 Bogotá, Colombia
Pier Paolo Balladelli, Representante
Tel: (57 1) + 3144141, Tel - Fax Directo (57) + 1 2547050
Omar Castiglioni, Representante
Tel: (57 1) + 488 9000 Fax: (57 1) + 3762850
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.