Floods Update 20 Jan 1998

from Somalia Aid Coordination Body
Published on 20 Jan 1998

- Weekly Report / 14.1.- 20.1.98 -

Number of people reported killed to date: confirmed deaths: 2,112
Number of people remaining at risk: approximately 1 Million

Livestock reported killed so far: more than 33,500 Food stocks destroyed: more than 60,000 hectares of crops and farmland
destroyed. Famine Early Warning System (FEWS)/Somalia estimates losses of Gu=12 crops in traditional underground granaries due to the floods and rain water seepage at 31,100 tones. The upcoming harvest is estimated to be reduced by at least 35,000 tones from the initial projection of 95,000 tones.

* General Situation: International organizations continued to focus on the emerging health problems related to the flood disaster. Well chlorination and social mobilization regarding cholera awareness are under way. Additional supplies for malaria and diarrhea treatment were distributed . Food aid continues. The situation remains very critical in Bay and Bakool. People are reported to be without sufficient supplies and in urgent need for assistance. Many villages and towns are still
isolated or under water, roads and markets not yet open. (Details under: 'Reports from the Field')

* Cholera: In Mogadishu, cholera cases continued to increase. In the period between 27.12.97 and 11.1.98 a total of 1,277 cases of admission were reported by Benadir hospital alone, 63 people were reported by the hospital to have died in the same period. Three cholera treatment centers have since been opened in Mogadishu run by MSF Spain at Forlanini and ACF at the Fairground and in Medina. The total number of cases in Forlanini as of 15 January was 147 with 11 deaths, other data is not yet available. Cholera supplies, funded by ECHO, were provided by WHO. - In Merca COSV reported a sharp increase in the number of cholera cases. As of 9 January COSV reported 599 cases in Merca with 15 deaths. WHO says that cholera cases have also been reported in all parts of Lower Shabelle but adds that these numbers include many cases of non-cholera diarrhea. UNICEF and COSV started an intensive social mobilization and chlorination campaign in all of Lower Shabelle. - A cholera outbreak was also reported from Balad and Afgoi by the Federation of the Red Cross and the Somali red Crescent. Data is presently awaited. WHO provided extra supplies to IFRC for the outbreak.

* Rift Valley Fever: A Task Force has been set up to combat the Rift Valley Fever in the region as cases of suspected Rift Valley Fever have by now been reported from several countries in East Africa. Four Rift Valley Fever experts (3 from the WHO Headquarter=12s Division of Emerging Diseases and 1 from FAO) joint the Task Force which will investigate the extent of the problem, strengthen a system for surveillance and develop control strategies including animal vaccination. The total number of deaths due to Rift Valley Fever in Somalia as of 15 January 1998 is 31 according to WHO.

* Boat Operation: Although water levels are down in many areas, several NGO=12s on the ground still use boats for the implementation of their programs. According to WFP, in the first month of the operation alone, the boats ferried around 40,000 families from flooded lands to higher lands and facilitated their movements across rivers to get supplies. They transported around 520 mt of UNICEF/NGO emergency food and around 360 mt of non food items such as emergency kits, blankets, water tanks, plastic sheeting etc. wherever stranded villages were identified. At present, the boats are concentrated along the Juba river from Sakow down to Jamame with two boats left in Bardera.

I. Food Relief delivered up to 18.1.98: (based on data provided by WFP)

>From the beginning of the operation middle of November until 18. January 1998, the grand total of food distributed in the flood affected areas within the Flood Operation in South Somalia has been 4,865.12 mt . The food included maize, beans, sorghum, wheat and vegetable oil and reached victims of the flood in Gedo (89,500 beneficiaries), Bay (181,500 beneficiaries), Lower Shabelle (18,700 beneficiaries) , Middle Juba (25,750 beneficiaries) and Lower Juba (42,640 beneficiaries) as well as Hiran (39,000 beneficiaries) . In total it is estimated that 397,090 people benefited from the food distributions. The amount of food aid delivered into flood affected areas could be increased during the week under review: two Hercules C 130 planes (instead of one) were allocated to the airdrops in Somalia, a third C 130 was being borrowed from the WFP Kenya operation whenever possible. Airdrops continued for Belet Weyne, Jamame, Hagar, Jilib, Afmadow, Bilis Qoqani, Hayo, Belet Karim and Marere. Increasingly food aid could be delivered by road, although many roads remain in a bad condition.

II. Reports from the Field:

Belet Weyne: Flood waters have receded and the level of the Shabelle river continues to subside. A joint SCF/OXFAM water and sanitation programme is underway, chlorination of wells in the town is continuing as well as the spraying of the hospital on a daily basis. The SCF agriculture team is carrying out an ongoing assessment of the seed distribution (funded by UNOPS) which took place in mid-December. So far there is hope that there will be a crop. - According to reports from
SCF and UNDP, the hospital in Belet Weyne is still dealing with a high number of admissions, the most common illnesses being malaria, diarrhea and (apparently wide spread in the area) tuberculosis. SCF says it plans to distribute mosquito netting for villages along the river. 1,500 pieces of netting are awaited and will be made into family-size nets with the involvement of women's group.

Jowhar: UNICEF reports that - by air - the river Shabelle could be seen to have gone down considerable, but that in dozens of places where it had broken its banks water continues to pour out into the countryside and villages. The general health situation is described to be deteriorating, kwashiorkor is reported in Bulo Fermo, malaria, diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections wide spread.

Afmadow/Hagar: ARC reports that water levels in Afmadow town are decreasing with some parts of land drying slowly. In general, there is a lack of clean drinking water in the area, there are no latrines, shallow wells have collapsed. chlorination of other wells in use is continuing. According to ARC there are at present 1,635 displaced people from the surrounding areas of Afmadow town staying with the town people. Malaria and diarrhea are wide spread, two adults were reported to have died
during the last week of bloody diarrhea and one child under 5 of malaria. (In total 57 deaths have been reported from Afmadow so far, mainly from malaria and diarrhea). - In Bilis Qoqani one person died of diarrhea (total so far 13 deaths). The water level is decreasing slowly. The number of displaced families is 488. Malaria and diarrhea are reported to be on the increase. - In Tabta water levels are decreasing, however, movement is still difficult , with the exception of donkey carts. Malaria, dysentery and diarrhea are wide spread. - ARC reports that around 470 displaced families moved to Hagar over the weekend bringing the total number of displaced families up to 1,500. Water levels are reported to decrease, however, many roads remain impassable. Over the last week 12 people reportedly died. Major diseases in the area are malaria and diarrhea. Cases of malnutrition and cases of respiratory infections are increasing especially amongst the displaced people according to ARC field staff. An educational awareness campaign on health issues has started and the chlorination of water sources as well as clean-ups are in progress.

Bay/Bakool: Famine Early Warning System (FEWS)/Somalia has released a report on the food security and health situation in Bay and Bakool based on information collected in late December 1997. All information gathered indicates that these two regions have experienced unprecedented hardship during the last months. FEWS reports that in Bay and Bakool the intensity of the rains was so high that farmers had no time to save cereals in their under-ground granaries. The latest reports coming in from almost all districts of Bay region estimate that about 60-70 percent of the under-ground granaries were flooded and therefore lost. More than 80 percent of the standing crops were washed away by the run-off water. All low-lying agricultural areas became pools. A huge number of livestock drowned or got stuck in the mud. Other animals
suffered hoof-rot and were unable to go grazing. - Many villages and towns are still isolated or under water. Even though food has been brought in, FEWS reports that there is an urgent need of more relief food for many isolated areas. In Bardale people are reported to still live on the roads because their houses are underwater. The food security situation seems particularly bad in Bakool, however land mines and heavy rains have virtually cut-off Bakool region from the neighbouring regions of Bay and Hiran, making field assessments and the delivery of supplies very hazardous. - Reports from IMC on the nutrition and health situation of Bay are equally alarming. The same seems to apply for Bakool according to elders and travellers from the region. Malaria is said to be the main disease killing people. An IMC doctor described in the report how he and his colleagues were forced to wrap up plastic bags on their feet while visiting patients, because of the excessive biting of mosquitoes. Malnutrition is reportedly wide spread.


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