Africa weekly emergency situation update No. 33

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 27 Oct 2008
General Context

The general context of our Region this week is dominated by the fighting in the eastern DRC causing a huge population displacement. Other Political crises leading to insecurity, displacement of populations in some countries are still ongoing. 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. In the North-east, this lull coincides with a slight return of IDPs to their homes. Many people are still in the bush; the humanitarian situation is not fully known and will need a thorough assessment when the UN security measures will permit.

- Chad: The security situation of the east is still unpredictable with isolated security incidents. The Hepatitis E outbreak is still on-going, from week 1 to 42 in 2008, 1881 cases with 22 deaths were reported in the eastern Chad. 21 suspected measles cases are also reported from 13 to 19 September in the eastern Chad. WHO is supporting investigations of the measles cases and with key partners are strengthening surveillance activities and case management for the Hepatitis outbreak.

- DRC: Fighting continues in North Kivu. According to the World Food Program in DRC, 200,000 people have fled the area since end of August 2008. The food assistance urgently needed by March 2009 is estimated to 33,000 tones. WHO is raising concerns about the deterioration of health services countrywide due to the strike of health professional in the country since med-September. Cholera outbreak on week 42: in North Kivu, 161 new cases no death, in South Kivu: 172 cases no death. Outbreak of typhoid Fever in the province of Bandundu, health zone of Inongo: 226 cases with 26 deaths reported from week 37 to 42. WHO and other health partners are supporting the health authorities for the control of these outbreaks.

- Ethiopia: Malnutrition continues to increase. Approximately 1.9 million people in the region still require emergency food assistance in Somali Region. Approximately 815,000 people are in need of emergency food assistance in the coming three months. This situation is aggravated by the continued spread of acute watery diarrhea epidemic in this region. On week 41, there were 48 acute watery diarrhea new cases and 1 death reported versus 63 cases and zero death in week 40. As of 12th of October 2008, there were 3,723 cases and 22 deaths reported. WHO, UNICEF and major NGOs are supporting the Ministry of Health for the outbreak control.

- Guinea-Bissau: The cholera outbreak is still out of control but for two consecutive weeks, there is a slight decline in the total number of cases. On week 42, a total of 11,963 cases and 198 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak. WHO and numerous national and international partners are supporting the Ministry of Health to contain the outbreak.

- Kenya: Terrorist alert, United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) indicated on October 27th October 2008 that terrorists are planning attacks on vital installations and western interest in Kenya and Uganda. Upsurge in insecurity in the northeastern region of Mandera has paralyzed transport and led to the imposition of a curfew, worsening the situation for residents already affected by floods and extreme food shortages.

- Niger: The situation is still dominated by the cholera outbreak in the region of Tahoua and Maradi but a slight decline of the number of cases has been observed since week 38. Five new cases no death were reported on week on week 42. A total of 953 cases with 70 deaths have been so far reported. WHO is supporting the health authorities to control the cholera outbreak with cholera kits and essential drugs.

- Uganda: Terrorist alert, United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) indicated that terrorists are planning attacks on vital installations and western interest in Kenya and Uganda.

- Zimbabwe: The all inclusive Government comprising of the three main political parties in the country has not yet been formed due to a disagreement on the allocation of key ministries. The humanitarian situation remains of big concern.

Countries Under Surveillance

- Côte d'Ivoire: The electoral commission has suspended for 2 days the registration of voters for technical reasons. The order comes as youths continue attacking registration offices and some election workers enter the second week of a strike over alleged lack of pay.

- Eritrea: The country remains stable. No major political and security incidence was reported but the suspension of diesel supply to UN agencies by the Government remains in place since 14 April 2008 continue to negatively affect field monitoring and supervisory activities.

- Nigeria: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Pirates attacked at least two oil vessels in the offshore waters of the Niger Delta on 25th of October 2008, briefly seizing a group of oil workers.

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