Africa weekly emergency situation update No. 35

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 10 Nov 2008
General Context

The humanitarian situation result of fighting in Eastern DRC with about 1.6 million people displaced in the region is still of high concerns. Killing of civilians are now reported by UN peacekeepers. 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. The peace talk process has been supported by both rebels and government although the north-west continue to experience several armed attacks. Access to humanitarian assistance will soon be limited if security is not improved in the North-west. Confirmed yellow fever cases in neighboring Bangui and in Bria town (south-east). Hepatitis E cases in Bangui confirmed by the Pasteur Institute. WHO is supporting the Health authorities to manage these outbreaks.

- Chad: The security situation of the east is still unpredictable with isolated incidents. UNHCR and its partners have suspended their activities in the camp of Am-Naback. Surveillance of suspect measles cases continue in the East. On week 44, a total of 11 suspect cases of measles with 1 death were reported. WHO and other key partners are planning a mass vaccination campaign of measles in Abeche.

- DRC: 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. Ceasefire has been broken and fighting have resumed. MONUC has opened an investigation into the killings of tens of civilians killed and many more wounded during fighting. Aid workers have been evacuated after attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the north-eastern territory of Dungu, near the Sudan border, which have caused thousands of civilians to flee since September. A regional Summit held in Nairobi on the 7th of November 2008 to address the current insecurity in the eastern DRC and attended by seven regional Heads and the UN Secretary General, called for tougher measures to end the conflict. WHO and UNICEF are supporting measles mass vaccination in Kirotshe health zone.

- Ethiopia: Despite the decrease in food prices in most parts of the country, the situation is not improving due to the poverty, high growth rate and global food and financial crises. Resources needed to deal with the situation are insufficient. There is significant decrease in the number of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) cases in the past 3 weeks. As of 26th of October, 3,791 cases and 23 deaths were reported. Humanitarian agencies including WHO continue their support to food crisis response as well as training on AWD epidemic.

- Kenya: Flooding was reported from several communities in the Nyanza and Rift Valley province over the weekend following heavy rains that killed displaced people, destroyed bridges and properties. The police are carrying out rescue operations. In the Central Pokot district, two landslides in one community killed twelve people and the number is likely to increase. Over 10,000 people were also displaced to safer areas in the lowlands.

- Zimbabwe: According to the press, the power sharing talks failed again on the 10th of November 2008 after the opposition MDC party, rejected plans to co-manage the ministry that oversees police but no official announcement has been made on the negotiations led by SADC in South Africa. Cholera outbreak in the Budiriro Suburb of Harare. A cumulative figure of 378 cases and 20 deaths were reported as of 07th November 2008. WHO, UNICEF and NGOs are supporting the health authorities to control the outbreak.

Countries Under Surveillance

- Cameroon: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has reached Cameroon. The 10 hostages from a French boat have not yet been released.

- Côte d'Ivoire: The UN Security Council expressed its deep concern about a possible third consecutive delay since the signature of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement, which could put at risk the entire Ivorian peace process.

- Guinea-Bissau: The cholera outbreak is under control. For five consecutive weeks, there is a decline in the total number of new cases. 420 cases were reported on week 45 versus 556 cases on week 44. A cumulative total of 13,781 cases and 221 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak. WHO and other health partners are supporting the Ministry of Health to contain the outbreak.

- Niger: The cholera outbreak in the region of Tahoua and Maradi is under control. No case was reported since 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 outbreak.

- Nigeria: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Gunmen in speedboats clashed with the Nigerian security forces in the western Niger Delta, on the 6th November 2008.

- South Africa: The after effect of ANC split and previous demonstrations by all factions needs follow up.

- Uganda: The general situation is calm at the moment and influx of Congolese refugees has stopped in Kisoro district. Most of the refugees are currently staying with relatives in the border villages on the Ugandan side. Currently the refugee influx has resulted in overload of sanitation facilities (latrines) in the area.