Syria/Iraq: Polio Outbreak - Oct 2013
On 28 Oct 2013, the Minister of Health of the Syrian Arab Republic announced that, after a 15-year absence, polio had returned to the Middle East. Thirteen cases were confirmed from Syria's Deir Al Zour province. The occurrence of an outbreak reflects declining immunization rates due to the severe interruption of public health services and to the conditions in which the people are living. A comprehensive outbreak response will need to be implemented across the region, with seven countries and territories to conduct mass polio vaccination campaigns targeting more than 22 million children aged under 5 years. (Strategic Plan for Polio Outbreak Response in the Middle East)
As of 8 Feb 2014, 17 confirmed polio cases had been reported from Syria's Deir ez-Zour Governorate, three from Aleppo Governorate, one from Al. Hasakeh Governorate and two from Idleb Governorate (WHO/UNICEF, 8 Feb 2014).
By 20 Mar, a total of 37 cases had been reported: 25 cases by the Syrian Arab Republic Ministry of Health, and 12 cases from contested areas (Aleppo, Edleb and Deir Al Zour) not yet reflected in official figures. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on 17 Dec 2013. Further evidence of regional spread was confirmed by notification of a case from Iraq, the first polio case in the country since 2000. The case, a six-month old boy from Baghdad who had not been immunized, developed paralysis on 10 Feb 2014. Genetic sequencing indicates the virus is most closely related to virus detected in the Syrian Arab Republic. (WHO, 21 Mar 2014)
By 8 Oct, three cases had been reported in the Middle East with onset of paralysis in 2014 - two in Iraq and one in Syria. The most recent case reported from Iraq occurred in Mada'in district, Baghdad-Resafa province, with onset of paralysis on 7 Apr. Syria’s most recent case had onset of paralysis on 21 Jan. The fact that six months had passed with no new cases being reported indicates that transmission of the virus has been interrupted. (Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 8 Oct 2014)
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Beginning in 2011, WHO underwent a restructuring of its emergency work to align it with the ongoing reform of the global humanitarian system led by the Inter-agency Standing Committee (IASC). This report describes the emergency risk and crisis management work of the Organization in 2013 and 2014, in the wake of this restructuring, and provides examples of how its new policies and procedures guided the implementation of specific activities for risk management and emergency response.
Snapshot 3–9 December
Philippines: Category 5 Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as Ruby, made landfall on 6 December over the town of Dolores in Eastern Samar province (Eastern Philippines). At least 49 of 81 provinces are potentially at high risk. The typhoon is moving very slowly, potentially subjecting each community in the path of the typhoon to high winds and torrential rainfall for much longer. 1.1 million people are affected.
In Madagascar, a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) has been confirmed. The virus was isolated from one case of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) with onset of paralysis on 29 September, and from three healthy contacts. An estimated more than 25% of children remain under-immunized against polio in the country. Madagascar was previously affected by a cVDPV2 outbreak in 2001/2002 (resulting in five cases) and in 2005 (resulting in three cases). Emergency outbreak response is being finalized, with campaigns to be held in December and January.
Snapshot 29 October – 4 November
Yemen: As a government was agreed by Houthi and other opposition parties, the Southern Movement announced a merger to represent all southerners in the campaign for independence. Houthi insurgents attacked the Sunni opposition Al Islah party headquarters in Ibb, while Al Qaeda killed 18 Yemeni troops during an attack in Hudaydah.
Central African Republic: In Ouaka prefecture, fighting among rival militias persists. Attacks on a number locations, including Bambari, have left dozens of people dead, and civilians have been executed. 3,000 people remain displaced from Bangui after violence began in the middle of the month.
DRC: A resurgence of ADF-NALU attacks in North Kivu are thought to have displaced 100,000 people, and killed at least 80. In South Kivu, there has been a significant increase in IDPs, mainly due to insecurity in Shabunda and Fizi territories. 7.3 million people across the country are estimated to be food insecure.
Central African Republic: 5,600 people have fled Bangui after a new wave of violence killed at least eight and injured 56. WASH and health are priority needs among the IDPs. A UN peacekeeper was ambushed and killed on the outskirts of the capital. In Kemo, IDPs have been slow to return as tensions have increased: ex-Seleka attacked Dekoa market on 11 October.
Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone: At 1 October, the total cumulative number of reported Ebola cases across the three countries had reached 7,470, including 3,431 deaths. However, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that only 40% of cases are being reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Social tensions and insecurity are growing. Many of the 3,700 children who have lost parents to Ebola are being rejected out of fear of infection.
Iraq:Up to 13% of IDPs are located in areas that are currently not considered accessible by humanitarian actors. The overall number and geographical spread of IDPs pose a major challenge for provision of assistance. Approximately 1.5 million individuals are in need of emergency food assistance. An estimated 580,000 people are in urgent need of emergency shelter assistance.
Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea: As a three-day countrywide shutdown came to an end in Sierra Leone, the UN Security Council set up a special mission to lead the global response to the Ebola outbreak. More than 5,800 cases have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak, including 2,800 deaths, and more than 13.5 million people are now considered in need of assistance as the impact of the epidemic spreads.
Libya: Concern is growing for the increasing number of people affected by crisis since mid-July, as violence persists, rival governments are failing to assure basic services, and most humanitarian organisations have withdrawn.
Syria: Syrian refugee numbers have grown by a million in a year, and now exceed three million, while the journey out of Syria is getting tougher. 42 children were reported killed by government strikes over 29-31 August, while in IS-held areas there are reports of routine executions and amputations.
Syria: Only 41% of Syria’s public hospitals are fully operational. The latest in a number of local truces around Damascus has been agreed between state forces and opposition in Qadam. 191,369 people were reported killed March 2011–April 2014, mainly in Rural Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Idleb, Dar’a and Hama, according to new UN figures.
Snapshot 13-19 August
Yemen: The 9 August Al Jawf ceasefire has been broken. Access to people affected by the conflict in Al Jawf is extremely limited due to persistent insecurity, and it is very difficult to obtain information. Almost 3,000 people have died in violence since the National Dialogue Conference took place on 25 January.
Snapshot 6 - 12 August
Central African Republic: The CAR President Catherine Samba-Panza named a Muslim as the new Prime Minister. Renewed clashes have displaced 20,000 people in Batafango (Ouham) since July and 17,000 people in Bambari (Ouaka) since June. A total of 890 security incidents were recorded in 2014, hampering humanitarian access.
Snapshot 30 July–5 August
OPt: As a 72-hour truce begins, 1,179 civilians have been reported killed since Operation Protective Edge started. A third of the population of the Gaza Strip – 485,000 people – have been displaced, an increase of 270,000 since last week. Most IDPs are staying in schools, which are severely overcrowded. The health system is overwhelmed.
Snapshot 22-29 July 2014
oPt: 1,067 are reported killed in Gaza since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. 215,000 people have been displaced, and shelter conditions are a major concern. Damage to critical infrastructure, including the only power station in Gaza and health facilities, is heavily restricting access to basic services. Insecurity is also impeding humanitarian access.
Snapshot 9–15 July
oPT: 178 Palestinians have been killed since the launch of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge on 8 July. Around 17,000 people have sought shelter in UNRWA schools. Rockets from Syria and Lebanon have hit the north of Israel, raising fears of the conflict spreading.
Democratic Republic of Congo: More than 30,000 people are estimated to have been displaced in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Katanga in June, due to FARDC military operations and fighting between armed groups.
Pakistan: Water, sanitation, and health services are urgent needs among the 780,000 registered displaced from North Waziristan (government figures). The data is being cleaned to check for duplication.
Iraq: Access to areas within the governorates of Anbar, Babylon, Diyala, Salah al Din, Kirkuk, and Ninevah remains difficult due to ongoing violence clashes, disruption of communication and transportation routes, and a widespread shortage of fuel.