CAR + 10 more

Africa weekly emergency situation update No. 34

Situation Report
Originally published


General Context

Humanitarian disaster as the result of fighting in Eastern DRC with about 1.6 million people displaced in the region has focused the attention of all humanitarian and international community this week. 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.

- Chad: The security situation of the east is still unpredictable with isolated incidents. Rampant armed attacks have forced aid agencies to suspend critical humanitarian assistance to thousands of displaced people in eastern Chad. Suspect measles cases have been reported in the east (Abeche) with 8 cases. Blood samples have been collected for the laboratory confirmation. Surveillance measures are ongoing with the support of WHO.

- DRC: Humanitarian disaster in North Kivu since last week when the rebel groups nearly entered Goma, the provincial capital. Although cease fire declared by the rebel group is still holding, the humanitarian situation of the 1. 6 millions war displaced people in the province has raised a big concern of the international community and aid agencies. According to OCHA in DRC, several IDPs camps in Rutshuru and Kibumba have been looted by rebel armed men and about 35,000 IDPs were returning to their villages. WHO is coordinating the health sector response of the crisis.

- Ethiopia: Malnutrition continues to increase. The national Meteorology Agency predicted below normal rainfalls from October to December 2008 that will likely deteriorate the food security. As food insecurity persists in some parts of the country, resources to support affected beneficiaries remain short. According to World Food Programme the shortfalls for the period October to December amount 236,392 metric tones valued at US$ 198.5 million. There were 51 acute watery diarrhea cases and 0 death reported during week 42. WHO, UNICEF and major NGOs are supporting the Ministry of Health for the outbreak control.

- Guinea-Bissau: The cholera outbreak is still on going but for four consecutive weeks, there is a decline in the total number of cases. On week 44, a total of 13,326 cases and 218 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: Security alert and preparedness was the highlight of the week. The dusk to dawn curfew imposed following the floods and the inter-clan violence on the Mandera is still in force. More than 9,600 persons have been displaced in the area and about 150 houses destroyed. 25 suspected cases of cholera and one death reported from 5 districts in the Nyanza province. WHO and other partners support the national authorities in responding to the outbreak.

- Uganda: UNHCR has reported approximately 8,500 Congolese refugees who fled into Uganda since the beginning of the fighting in North Kivu/DRC. Most of them are settled in 12 villages along the DRC border. As in Kenya, terrorist alert is still maintained.

- Zimbabwe: The all inclusive Government comprising of the three main political parties has not yet been formed. The cholera outbreak in Chitungwiza is under control, although the water supply and sanitation situation remains unresolved. A cumulative number of 145 cases and 16 deaths were reported in Chitungwiza as of 20/10/08. WHO is leading the support to Ministry of Health and social welfare on response to cholera outbreak.

Countries Under Surveillance

- Cameroon: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has reached Cameroon. Armed assailants took 10 crew members hostage from a French boat at a Cameroonian offshore oil rig on the 31st October 2008.

- Côte d'Ivoire: Human rights groups warn that failing to ensure a fair election would plunge the country into chaos. After several cancellations polls are officially scheduled for 30 November 2008. But it is widely expected they will be pushed back again.

- Niger: The situation of the cholera outbreak in the region of Tahoua and Maradi seems to be under control. No case was reported on week 43. A total of 972 cases with 70 deaths have been reported from week 1 to 43. WHO is supporting the health authorities to control the cholera outbreak with cholera kits and essential drugs.

- 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. On 20th October 2008, rebels calling themselves Bakassi Freedom Fighters and modeling themselves after the rebel Niger Delta Defense and Security Council (NDDSC) claimed an attack on a trawler in Cameroonian waters.

- South Africa: Potential for conflict with ANC split and demonstrations by all factions.

- Zambia: Ruling party wins Zambia elections. The Patriotic Front (opposition) has already said it will not accept the results, launching fresh claims of vote fraud.

For more information please contact: Dr Omar Khatib, Programme Manager, EHA/AFRO email: