Africa weekly emergency situation update No. 32

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 20 Oct 2008
General Context

There are no big changes in the general context of our Region this week. Fighting in the eastern DRC and big concern for the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe are still dominating the landscape. Other Political crises leading to insecurity, displacement of populations in some countries are still on-going. Diseases outbreaks continue to strike several countries. WHO continue to provide technical support in many countries in crisis.

Countries Situations

Acute Crises

- CAR: Security situation relatively calm. A recent UN report noted a serious worsening of the security situation in the north of the country where Government forces, rebels and highway bandits have been active. In the south-east, the rebel Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been reported to be operating.

- Chad: The security situation of the east is still unpredictable. Rising banditry across eastern Chad has forced several aid organizations to temporarily suspend their work. An estimated 37,000 IDPs living in Dogdore and Ade could be without health care, food assistance, water and sanitation services unless the security situation improves. The Hepatitis E outbreak in the IDPs camp of Dogdore and Bredjing is still ongoing with 18 new cases and no death reported in week 41with a cumulative total of 1,827 cases and 22 deaths reported from week 1 to week 41 in the Eastern Chad. WHO and key partners are strengthening surveillance activities and case management.

- DRC: More fighting in North Kivu between the CNDP rebels and the regular army continued. Outbreaks are reported in several provinces: cholera in Katanga (146 new cases with 12 deaths on week 40), North Kivu (95 new cases 0 death on week 40), South Kivu (217 new case 1 death on week 40). WHO and other health partners are supporting the health authorities for the control of these outbreaks.

- Ethiopia: Despite coordinated efforts from Government of Ethiopia and partners, the current food crisis situation is still a concern. In Somali Region, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate during this period as the dry season, progressed. The region reported critical food shortage, water scarcity, high livestock deaths and increasing rural urban migrations. Acute Watery Diarrhea Epidemics are reported in the country. As of 5 October 2008 cumulative cases and deaths nationally are 3,675 and 22 respectively. WHO, UNICEF and majors NGOs are supporting the Ministry of Health for the outbreak control.

- Guinea-Bissau: The cholera outbreak is still out of control. On week 41, a total of 10,872 cases and 185 deaths have been reported. The capital Bissau has the highest number of cases with 7, 427 cases. WHO and numerous national and international partners are supporting the Ministry of Health to contain the outbreak.

- Niger: The situation is still dominated by the cholera outbreak in the region of Tahoua and Maradi. On week 41 the number of cases is decreasing with 25 cases and 0 death reported versus 84 cases and 3 deaths on week 40. A total of 948 cases and 70 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak. WHO is supporting the health authorities to control the cholera outbreak with cholera kits and essential drugs.

- Zimbabwe: The humanitarian situation remains of big concern.

Countries Under Surveillance

- Côte d'Ivoire: An UN report warns of threats ahead as Ivorians prepare to conduct polls. The presidential polls scheduled for 30 November 2008 could become a source of instability especially in the often delicate period immediately following elections.

- Eritrea: The suspension of diesel supply to UN agencies by the Government remains in place since 14 April 2008 and continue to negatively affect field monitoring and supervisory activities.

- Kenya: The political, social and security situation is calm. At least 1,000 households (6,000 persons) have been displaced by flash floods in Mandera town which occurred on October 14th when River Daua burst its banks. Some town residents were cut-off by the floods and efforts were immediately put in place to reach them. Three people are feared dead. Cholera outbreak jn Bungoma and Mount Elgon districts, last data reported a total of 92 cases and 4 deaths. MOH present on the ground and WHO is supporting through an emergency response plan.

- Mauritania: The tension on political situation is still high.

- Nigeria: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea with eight fishing vessels and 96 crew members were taken hostage on the 16th October 2008.

- Tanzania: Health authorities in Tanzania have urged people to take precautionary measures against Rift Valley Fever (RVF), saying there were signs that the disease might erupt. WHO Tanzania is closely monitoring the situation.

For more information please contact: Dr Omar Khatib, Programme Manager, EHA/AFRO email: khatibo@afro.who.int