Health Action in Crises: Highlights No. 172 - 27 Aug 02 Sep 2007

from World Health Organization
Published on 02 Sep 2007
Each week, the World Health Organization Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on the health aspects of selected humanitarian crises. Drawing on the various WHO programmes, contributions cover activities from field and country offices and the support provided by WHO regional offices and Headquarters. The mandate of the WHO Departments specifically concerned with Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Crises is to increase the effectiveness of the WHO contribution to crisis preparedness and response, transition and recovery. This note, which is not exhaustive, is designed for internal use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.


Assessments and events:

Peru's national and regional institutions are consolidating and coordinating relief with the assistance the international community and aid agencies.

In Pisco, the impact of the earthquake along with existing poverty in many areas of the city has caused a severe social emergency. The majority of the affected population (40 000 families) still resides in improvised shelters without basic necessities or drinking water. The health network situation remains critical, with two hospitals destroyed and 22 health centres affected. Low evening temperatures area also becoming a health threat.

In Chincha and Ica, the health network is gradually recuperating, and patients are no longer sent to Lima for care. In Ica, four health centres were affected and 19 are functioning. In Cincha, one hospital is fully functional, while the other is 60% functional. Of the 29 health facilities, three were affected.

The most urgent health sector priorities include improved sanitation in shelters, safe drinking water supply and quality control, solid waste management, psychosocial support, and disease surveillance and prevention.


WHO/PAHO continue to support a health situation room in the MoH headquarters in Lima.

WHO/PAHO and UNICEF are coordinating water and sanitation activities.

The LSS/SUMA system continues inventorying and organizing assistance. additional posts of LSS/SUMA have been installed in Lima, Pisco and Callao.

A team of engineers and architects are evaluating the structure of the health services network in the area affected by the earthquake, this includes hospitals and health centres.

Support for WHO's emergency operations is provided by Monaco and the UNCERF.


Assessments and events:

Insecurity and seasonal rains are hampering access to the estimated 230 000 refugees from Darfur, 54 000 from CAR and 172 000 IDPs scattered across the east and south-east.

Throughout the country, increasing flood damage is reported. Since early August, floods have destroyed houses and flooded fields in Tandjile region in the south, Salamat in the east, Lac in the west and Hadjer Lamis in the north central region. In Goz Beida district, more than 2000 IDPs were displaced by flooding at Habile site, in Koukou.


Following the floods at Habile site, two UN cargo flights were organized to Koukou with soap and family hygiene kits as well as essential drugs provided by WHO. These included anti-malarials and rapid tests for the NGO Mentor Initiative currently on the ground.

Together with partners, WHO is elaborating contingency projects for the provision of emergency support to the 10 000 IDPs living in Habile site.

The Abéché sub office laboratory and epidemiology specialist assessed the laboratory facilities in Biltine Hospital ahead of a WHO support mission.

Three consultants have arrived in Abéché to prepare the second phase of the national immunization days for polio planned from 7 to 9 September.

The UN Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign is sending more than 40 000 bed nets to camps along the border with Sudan and CAR.

WHO's activities in Chad are funded by ECHO, Italy and the UNCERF.


Assessments and events:

UNHCR estimates that over one million people are internally displaced, with children being particularly vulnerable.

Around Baghdad and Najaf alone, about 50 000 IDPs are living in camps among host communities, suffering from summer heat, poor hygiene, lack of water and increased risk of waterborne diseases. Adequate nutrition also remains a challenge for most families.

The MoH confirmed cholera in Kirkuk and Sulemaniya; on 27 August, 140 admissions were reported in 12 hours at the Sulemaniya General Hospital. Of these, 35 were cholera cases. There are controversial reports on the total number of acute watery diarrhoea cases since the beginning of the outbreak. Twelve deaths have been reported so far.


The WHO Representative is in northern Iraq since the beginning of the crisis supported by WHO team inside Iraq. Experts from the WHO Iraq Office in Amman are joining. WHO has recruited three water and food safety experts to support the laboratory in Sulemaniaya.

WHO is monitoring the situation and providing technical and financial support to the MoH. Preliminary assessments indicate that training on case management is needed. Stocks of medicine provided by the MoH, the USA as well as ICRC, MSF, UNICEF and WHO are presently sufficient but warehousing needs to be supported and better organized. Notwithstanding supplies, technical and logistical support is needed for the public health surveillance system.

WHO has mobilized additional sources from the control of communicable diseases project funded by the EC.

WHO is supporting the strengthening of coordinated public and community health education.

WHO is preparing the purchase and delivery of ten diarrhoeal diseases kits.

WHO's relief activities are funded by the UNDG ITF with support from Italy, Japan and Norway.