Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 223, 25-31 Aug 2008

from World Health Organization
Published on 31 Aug 2008 View Original
Each week, the World Health Organization Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on critical health-related activities in countries where there are humanitarian crises. Drawing on the various WHO programmes, contributions cover activities from field and country offices and the support provided by WHO regional offices and headquarters. The mandate of the WHO departments specifically concerned with Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Crises is to increase the effectiveness of the WHO contribution to crisis preparedness and response, transition and recovery. This note, which is not exhaustive, is designed for internal use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.


Assessments and Events

- More than 120 000 people have been displaced by the conflict, with nearly 100 000 settled in and around Tbilisi. As of 25 August, about 10 000 IDPs have returned to Gori and nearby villages, and up to 90 000 are ultimately expected to return to their places of origin.

- There is widespread uncertainty among the population vis-à-vis access to basic services. To address this, the provision of basic services - water, food, shelter, health and protection needs - as well as mental health services must be addressed.

- As of 25 August, no outbreaks of communicable diseases have been reported in conflict-affected areas. Samples from Gori's main water sources confirmed that water is safe for drinking.


- Georgia is providing free health care to IDPs through government facilities.

- Health partners have begun mental health activities.

- In the Flash Appeal, WHO and partners are calling for US$ 7.7 million to:

  • assess damage to health infrastructure and emerging needs of the health systems;
  • monitor health threats and risks;
  • support the MoH and health partners in coordinating the response;
  • address critical threats like outbreaks or loss of access to health services;
  • ensure primary health care and strengthen secondary medical care in affected areas;
  • address gaps in health services delivery;
  • provide logistical and other operational support for the distribution of supplies.
- In this framework, WHO seeks US$ 940 000 for disease surveillance and control, essential primary health care, public health services for IDPs and vulnerable populations.

- WHO emergency activities are so far supported by its regular budget. WHO submitted a CERF application for rapid response to the urgent health needs identified in the Flash Appeal.