Cholera Spreads in Drought-Stricken Somalia Amid Famine Threat

Cholera is spreading in Somalia, further complicating drought relief efforts as the country teeters on famine.
Health officials are complaining about a lack of access to some areas due to security challenges.
“I think it is good for people to understand also this time of the year is not cholera season for Somalia.
So, we describe this as off-season and we are expecting in a few weeks’ time when the rain comes, probably the trend of cholera will be probably even double or triple,” said Abubakar.
The health agency says about 5.5 million people in Somalia are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases like cholera.
He said it is challenging to distribute medicines to two or five villages for a day and then get new cholera cases in 10 villages.
“We are struggling, and we are trying to do what we can do, but what is hampering the control of outbreak is access; many of the locations in Somalia are inaccessible, and we are finding it very difficult to do the control measures," he said.
Aid agencies are getting access to central Somalia, and other parts of the country except for southern regions where al-Shabab is in control.
In those regions there have been 950 cases of cholera and 80 deaths since the beginning of the year.
More than six million Somalis, half the population, need food, water and medical assistance.

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