Health action in crises - Highlights No 110 - 29 May to 4 June 2006

from World Health Organization
Published on 04 Jun 2006 View Original
Each week, the World Health Organization Department for 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:

Following the 6.2 earthquake which struck Java on 27 May, casualties have been rising steeply and are now estimated above 5500. More than 15 000 people are reported injured. The estimated number of displaced people ranges between 200 000 and 600 000

Bantul district is the worst hit: most of the houses and one hospital were destroyed. Eleven of the 26 health centres are destroyed and four damaged; 20 sub-health centres out of 75 are reportedly destroyed.

The remaining hospitals are treating patients at four times their capacity.

Health, water and sanitation and shelter are a major humanitarian concerns.

Emergency needs include antibiotics, anaesthetics and orthopaedic supplies; reconstructive orthopaedic surgery capacity and ambulances to evacuate the severely injured patients.

Meanwhile, the threat of a volcanic eruption from nearby volcano Merapi, persists


Immediately after the earthquake, WHO accompanied MoH in the first assessment.

The MoH has established a Coordination Centre in Yogyakarta, mobilizing personnel, medicines, equipment, and ambulances to set up mobile clinics.

WHO in Indonesia is supporting the efforts of the health authorities by

- Establishing a communicable disease surveillance network in cooperation with all local health actors.

- Assisting in coordinating the health aspects of relief.

- Assisting in the implementation of a vaccination campaign in affected areas.

- Providing drugs and supplies.

- Providing vehicles and communication equipment.

- Supporting water and sanitation and environmental health with water quality control and public health promotion measures.

WHO delivered 9 surgical kits, 7 New Emergency Health Kits, 3 diarrhoeal kits, as well as antibiotics and Ringer Lactate. A further 10 NEHK, 20 surgical kits, 5 diarrhoeal kits and anaesthetics are expected.

WHO is working with international agencies and NGOs to develop a comprehensive Health Cluster plan covering requirements for the next 6 months

WHO has been requested by the MoH to assist in the coordination of contributions provided by health partners and UN agencies.

Meanwhile, WHO continues to monitoring the nearby volcano Merapi.

WHO needs US$ 1.3 million to cover immediate needs. Meanwhile, the Organization is participating in the Indonesia Earthquake Response Plan launched in Geneva on 2 June.

Timor Leste

Assessments and events:

There are 70 000 people in temporary camps in and around Dili, as more people flee ongoing violence. People need clean water, shelter, food and health care.

The international community has been assisting Timor-Leste since 1999, but the current unrest, which began in March, is restricting the movements of humanitarian agencies.


WHO supports MoH in coordination of response efforts and participates in interagency assessment of the IDP camps.

DGR HAC has made available USD 25 000 to WR Timor-Leste.

work is in progress to mobilize external funds from CERF and through a Flash Appeal.


Assessments and events:

Insecurity in Darfur is impeding access to health care. The health facility utilization rate is below the minimal emergency benchmark of 1.4 visits per person per year.

In North Darfur, insecurity is forcing many international NGOs to suspend their activities, resulting in poor surveillance and reporting.

In South Darfur, the influx of IDPs around Nyala town is putting a strain on health, water and sanitation services and impacting on the environmental conditions in the camps.

As of 28 May, 5923 cases of meningococcal meningitis have been reported throughout Sudan, including 472 deaths. In northern Sudan, a mass vaccination campaign in the worst hit areas averted the spread of the outbreak but did not stop transmission. In southern Sudan, areas in Warrap and Unity states are still reporting cases above the epidemic threshold.

The outbreak of cholera in Southern Sudan continues. Since 28 January, 14 196 cases have been reported, including 424 deaths.


In South Darfur, WHO and the State and Federal MoH organized a workshop on the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses for 21 community volunteers in Dereig camp.

WHO visited Sakali and Musee camps to review solid waste management and safe water practices and provide guidance.

In North Darfur, WHO continues to provide technical support to the State for water quality control and more sustainable community-based solid waste management in the camps.

WHO, UNICEF, the State MoH and partners are planning spraying for malaria control in the camps before the start of the rainy season.

In West Darfur, WHO and UNICEF supported a training on the management of severe malnutrition in Wadi Salih, a region bordering on Chad.

WHO will support the hospital in Garseila Town with drugs from June - Decr.

In Gedaref, WHO conducted a training on cerebrospinal meningitis, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases for doctors and medical assistants.

In Kassala and Red Sea State, WHO and partners conducted several health and nutrition assessment missions.

WHO donated medical supplies and equipment as well as 20 New Emergency Health Kits to the State MoH, three to UNHCR and one to the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.

In 2006, contributions were received from the European Commission, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland, the Central Emergency Relief Fund and the 2006 Common Humanitarian Fund.

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