Benin + 7 more

West Africa flood-related crisis: Health situation report No. 1

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HIGHLIGHTS

Heavy rains that began in West Africa in June 2009 have so far affected at least eight countries with flood waters, affecting about 600 000 people and causing 159 deaths up until 10 September.

- So far no major communicable disease outbreaks have been recorded in affected countries, but there have been reported increases in malaria and diarrhoeal disease cases.

- The first countries affected by flooding in July were Benin and Togo, where 20 000 people and 7500 people respectively were affected. Most if not all have found refuge with family. Continued heavy rain and flooding in September has caused more humanitarian hardship, however, in Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Mali and Ghana were also affected.

- The flooding could lead to an increased risk of communicable disease outbreaks, including diarrhoeal and vector-borne disease and even some haemorrhagic fevers.

- In response to the health needs, WHO has been supporting health ministries and UN partners in conducting health assessments, coordinating the activities of health partners and providing needed medical supplies.