Africa weekly emergency situation update No. 36

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 17 Nov 2008
General Context

The humanitarian situation of about 1.6 million people displaced in the eastern DRC is still of high concern because despite ongoing diplomatic talks, fighting continues. Killing of civilians and recruitment of child soldiers are now reported by UN peacekeepers.

Countries Situations

Acute Crises

- CAR: High concern over security situation in many areas. An unidentified armed group attacked a village of Ouamba in the South-west. This situation led to population displacement not yet quantified. Confirmed yellow fever cases in neighboring Bangui and in Bria town (south-east), WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health for the response plan.

- Chad: The security situation in the east is still unpredictable with isolated incidents. The vehicle of an International NGO (Concern) was shot at between Abéché and Goz-Beida on the 07th of November 2008 by bandits (''coupeurs de routes''). The blood samples of suspect measles cases in the East were negative; the vaccination campaign has been suspended.

- DRC: Fighting continues in DRC. Tens of thousands of civilians forced from their homes by fighting are still beyond the reach of international aid. Child recruitment by rebels in the combat zones has been reported by UN and human rights activists. Meanwhile the humanitarian situation of the 1. 6 millions war displaced people in the North-east provinces has raised a big concern for the international community and aid agencies. During week 45, a total of 410 new cases of cholera with 10 deaths were reported in North Kivu. WHO has sent 9 international experts and supplies to help manage the crisis in North Kivu.

- Ethiopia: Heavy rains in Somali Region and in the highlands of Oromiya during the past week caused floods in parts of Somali Region. The floods have reportedly caused some displacement and damaged about 2,000 hectares of crop land. During the week 45, a total 2,729 new admissions of severely malnourished children to the therapeutic feeding centers were reported nationally from the hotspot districts. Humanitarian agencies including WHO continue their support to food crisis response.

- Kenya: Flooding and consequential landslides, deaths and displacement reports from several areas of the country and the conflict in Mandera were the emergency headlines for the week. According to Kenya Red Cross Society estimates, over 300,000 people have been affected. In all, over 50 people were killed across the country. A Technical team of Ministry of Health, Provincial Health and WHO are assessing the situation.

- Zimbabwe: To date there is still no agreement on the power sharing arrangement since the extraordinary SADC summit in South Africa on 09th November 2008. Prices of essential commodities are escalating on a daily basis. The cholera outbreak in Budiriro is still on without signs of abating despite the interventions that are currently in place. WHO and health cluster partners continue to provide drugs, and technical support.

Countries Under Surveillance

- Angola: Resurgence of cholera cases reported over the last six weeks in the country. The UIJE province alone reported a total of 29 cases with no death. WHO in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF conducted a field investigation.

- Côte d'Ivoire: November poll officially canceled, new date to be announced. The UN Security Council expressed its deep concern about this delay which could put at risk the entire peace process.

- Guinea-Bissau: The cholera outbreak is under control. For six consecutive weeks, there is a decline in the total number of new cases. 211 cases were reported in week 46. A cumulative total of 14,004 cases and 221 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak. WHO and other health partners are supporting the Ministry of Health.

- Mozambique: A cholera outbreak in week 45 has affected Niassa with 22 cases and 0 death, Tete: 25 cases and 1 death, Zambezia 62 cases and 1 death, Manhica 28 cases, 0 deaths. Cumulative total of 1,804 cases with 18 deaths have been so far reported. WHO and health partners are supporting the health authorities to control the outbreak.

- Niger: The cholera outbreak is totally 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. Malnutrition is still ongoing, since the beginning of the year 1,621,003 cases with 2,093 deaths have been reported. WHO is supporting the health authorities to coordinate all health related activities.

- Nigeria: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Increased attacks on ships have been reported in the Niger Delta area which has drawn the attention of the International Maritime Organisation.

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

- Uganda: The general situation is still calm. The influx of Congolese refugees has stopped. Total number of refugee influx in Uganda is estimated at around 14,000 people. Health partners are urged to intensify immunization activities especially targeting the refugees.

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