Africa weekly emergency situation update Vol. 2, No. 13

from World Health Organization
Published on 30 Mar 2009
General Context

The humanitarian concerns in the African region this week remain the same as the previous week due to ongoing flooding in the Southern Africa and outbreaks of diseases notably cholera and meningitis.

Countries Situations

Acute Crises

Angola: Floods and Heavy rains continue. Several provinces are affected. In Cunene province, 14 persons have died as a direct consequence of the floods. A Rapid response CERF project has been funded. WHO supported the MoH to conduct assessment in the affected municipalities. Cholera epidemic: As of March 29th, 487 cases and 2 deaths were reported.

CAR: Security situation in the North is still poor. Meningitis outbreak in south east (basse Kotto district), 87 cases and 13 deaths. 12 out 20 specimen tested positive for Neisseria meningitis A. Request to ICG to deploy vaccines in preparation with the support of WHO.

Chad: Continued precarious security situation with violence and criminal activities in Eastern Chad are still affecting humanitarian activities. In the previous week, 35 new suspected measles cases were reported with 23 in Abeche. The cumulative cases are now 670. Communicable diseases surveillance is still supported by the WHO.

DRC: The socio-political scene is characterized by fears of new attacks by LRA rebels following Ugandan Army withdrawal and the release of new elections timetable. New cholera cases reported last week are: In Katanga, 112 cases with 3 deaths, in South Kivu, 106 cases with 1 death and in North Kivu 97 cases with 2 deaths.

Ethiopia: Continued high levels of food insecurity, with an estimated 12.4 million people considered food insecure. A total of 7.5 million people will be covered under the Productive Safety-Net Program (PSNP). From 1st January to 21st March 2009; 371 AWD cases and 7 deaths (CFR: 1.9%) were reported from Moyale districts.

Kenya: The social and political situation remained calm during the week. However, there were criminal bushfires set in seven forest reserves affecting over 44,700 hectares. The cholera outbreak is spreading to other districts. So far 16 districts have been affected in Nyanza, Rift valley and North-eastern and Eastern provinces. The total number of reported cholera cases has risen to 1,265 with 41 deaths (CFR: 3.%).

Madagascar: The political situation remained uncertain, with counter demonstrations between supporters of the new and deposed president. About 58 injuries, 15 of them severe were reported during the past week and the cumulative number of injured has reached 1,170 with 441 severe and 186 deaths. Cyclone Izilda has displaced 3,376 persons in the district of Morombe. The humanitarian partners have launched a flash appeal.

Namibia: An estimate of up to 350,000 people are affected by the floods of which many are displaced and relocated in camps. About 90 are feared dead. Many health facilities and schools are either flooded or inaccessible. Government and humanitarian partners conducted assessments and identified immediate and medium-term humanitarian needs. A Flash Appeal prepared by the humanitarian partners has been funded.

Niger: The meningitis epidemic continues to spread and as of last week, 24 out of 42 districts (57%) have been affected. Eight districts have crossed alert threshold and 16 have crossed the epidemic threshold. A total of 1,156 new cases with 36 deaths were reported in the week bringing the total reported cases to 5,836 with 207 deaths (CFR 3.5%). Health partners have indicated a vaccine shortage of 1 million doses.

Zimbabwe: The cholera epidemic is not yet under control, although there has been a continuous decline in the number of cases in the last ten weeks. A total of 93,937 cases and 4,112 deaths were reported as at 30/03/09 (CFR: 4.4%). Community deaths were 61.6 % of total deaths.

Countries Under Surveillance

Burkina Faso: Meningitis: a total of 248 new cases and 27 deaths have been reported. The cumulative cases are now 2,479 with 341 deaths (CFR 13.8%). Three districts are in alert.

Guinea: The socio-political situation continues to improve. 5 new cases of suspected yellow fever were reported making cumulative cases 29 with 1 confirmed. In the same week, 5 suspected meningitis cases were reported bringing the total to 74 with 8 deaths (CFR: 10.8%).

Mozambique: Ongoing cholera outbreak. As of last week, 13,724 cases and 1,221 deaths (CFR: 0.9%) were reported. 51 out of 144 districts are currently affected and a total of 827 cases and 2 deaths were notified during the week 11.

Uganda: In Karamoja, Government lead disarmament process ongoing however, the security situation remains tense as the number of cattle raids in the region increases. The number of cases of Hepatitis E registered to date is 9,890 with 156 deaths (CFR :1.58%). Kitgum and Pader districts are most affected.

Southern African Floods: Botswana, Malawi and Zambia are under surveillance for the flood situation and its aftermath. Emergency situations have not yet been declared and surveillance is continuing for vector and waterborne diseases.

For more information please contact: Dr Omar Khatib, Programme Manager