Health action in crises - Highlights No 114 - 26 Jun to 2 July 2006

from World Health Organization
Published on 02 Jul 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.


Yogyakarta Assessments and events:

As of 10 June, the MoH reported 6725 deaths and more than 45 200 injured. Between 300 000 and 500 000 homes were destroyed or damaged. The number of homeless people ranges from 1 to 2 million.

The number of tetanus cases continues to rise: 71 cases have been identified as of 20 June, with 27 subsequent fatalities.


Measles and tetanus immunization campaigns are ongoing. As of 22 June, 42% of the affected population of Yogyakarta and Central Java has been immunized against tetanus and 74 % against measles.

WHO is supporting provincial, national and regional health authorities in social mobilization for the vaccinations and in developing guidelines on tetanus prevention and management respectively.

The Indonesia Earthquake Response Plan was launched in Geneva on 6 June. WHO is requesting US$ 5.4 million to cover health needs of the affected populations. Thanks to pledges totalling US$ 2.24 million from Australia, Canada, Iceland, Monaco, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States , somewhat over 40% of total funds requested have been obtained.

Sulawesi Assessments and events:

Flash floods and landslides in South Sulawesi last week killed 285 people and injured 46. Close to 140 are missing and over 7 500 have been displaced.

The MoH opened health posts in affected areas, deployed a surveillance team for emergency sanitation and sent medical and food supplies. According to MoH, the main causes of consultation are, in order, tetanus, scabies and ARI.

Medicines, safe water and food are needed.


- WHO deployed staff in the affected areas on 23 June to conduct a health assessment. WHO is in contact with national and local health authorities to provide requested support.


Assessments and events:

It is estimated that more than 68 000 people are living in IDP camps in Dili and another 80 000 in camps outside Dili.


Between 13 and 24 June, the MoH, WHO and UNICEF organized a measles immunization campaign covering about 30 000 children between 6 months and 14 years in Dili IDP camps. Vitamin A and anti-helminthic drugs were given and a nutritional assessment was conducted at the same time.

WHO and other UN agencies carried out a rapid assessment of IDP camps. Technical support was provided to establish integrated disease surveillance and develop a standard protocol for the outbreak investigation and response team.

WHO and the CDC team of the MoH are working together to locate chronic patients living in the IDP camps and provide medicines for their treatment.

WHO delivered 405 packs containing more than 24 000 chlorine tablets for water purification in IDP camps.

WHO has prepared two projects for epidemic preparedness and response and drugs and consumables for emergency response, amounting to US$ 1.28 million which were included in the Flash Appeal.


Assessments and events:

An estimated 8.5 million are affected.

Despite the recent rains, relief will continue to be needed throughout the affected areas.

In Ethiopia, civil unrest in the Borena zone has displaced thousands. An emergency needs assessment conducted by the Ethiopian Government, UN agencies, and donors estimated that beneficiaries will increase by 1.1 million people in the Somali Region.

In Eritrea, diarrhoea and pneumonia continue to be the top causes of morbidity and mortality in children under five.


On 14-15 June, WHO organized in Nairobi, a Health Cluster inter-country meeting to review interventions in the Horn over the past three months and agree on a common strategy with stronger inter-country coordination

The main areas for intervention include assessment and monitoring, immunization, management of malnutrition, control of outbreaks and communicable diseases, reproductive health, water and sanitation, primary access to and referral for quality health services and essential medicines.

WHO has established an inter-regional hub in Nairobi to support the roll-out of the Health cluster. Furthermore, WHO plans to strengthen its own capacities by recruiting extra country staff, setting up a roster of experts for quick deployment, strengthening equipment, supplies and logistic capacity and investing in dialogue with partners to mobilize resources at a country level.

In Djibouti, WHO is bolstering health outreach services through the provision of new mobile units and strengthening existing MoH units in the drought affected districts.

In Eritrea, WHO supported a two week IMCI training workshop to strengthen skills to manage diarrhoea, acute respiratory infection, malaria and malnutrition

In Ethiopia, WHO is assisting the MoH and has activated surveillance operations in the Borena zone and provided essential drugs to the Somali Regional and Oromiya regions to offset drug shortages.

In Kenya, WHO has posted a new international EHA focal point in its Country office

In Somalia, WHO has been requested by UNICEF to assist in setting up a programme for water quality monitoring.

WHO's activities are supported by a grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Additional support is provided by Norway in Ethiopia and Italy in Djibouti.

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