Kenya + 2 more

Communicable disease risk assessment and interventions - Flooding disaster: Horn of Africa


The purpose of this technical document is to provide health professionals in United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations, donor agencies and local authorities with up-to-date technical guidance on the major communicable disease threats faced by flood-affected populations.

The endemic and epidemic-prone diseases outlined have been selected on the basis of the burden of morbidity and mortality in the region, as previously documented by WHO.

The prevention and control of communicable diseases represent a significant challenge to those providing health-care services in this evolving situation. It is hoped that this document will facilitate the coordination of communicable disease control activities between all agencies working with flood affected populations.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Unusually heavy rains during October and November have turned large parts of the Horn of Africa into flood disaster areas, resulting in death, massive population displacement, and loss of livelihoods and assets, particularly in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. An estimated 1.5-1.8 million people are affected (Map 1).

The emergency response is being mounted by governments in the affected countries, United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other humanitarian partners, but the delivery of lifesaving supplies is obstructed by damaged or destroyed infrastructure, lack of fuel, ongoing security risks and continuing heavy rains in the region. The combination of a moderate El Niño effect and sea surface temperatures over the Indian Ocean favours heavy rains and continued flooding until early 2007.