Somalia: Sharp spike in cholera cases as drought wreaks havoc
NAIROBI — Despite dire warnings recently from humanitarian agencies, thousands of children remain severely malnourished and remain vulnerable to cholera, diarrhea and other diseases in Somalia; the international community is not prepared.
About half of Somalia’s population – 6.2 million people – need humanitarian assistance.
Of those, Save the Children estimates that about 1 million Somali children will become malnourished this year, with almost 200,000 at risk of death from severe acute malnutrition.
“In the last two months, we had 7,731 cases of cholera with 183 people dying.
Just last week – 1,352 cases of cholera and 38 people dying.
With chronic malnutrition on the rise, more children will suffer from preventable diseases like cholera and diarrhea if humanitarian actors fail to act in time.
The U.N. and humanitarian agencies are keen to avoid a repeat of the 2011 drought when the international community was criticized for responding too slowly to a “preventable” crisis; 260,000 people died as a result of the drought between 2010-2012.
“The surge in deaths during the 2011 drought happened in April – and the drought was less severe then,” Watkins said in the statement.
Just last week, Somali President Mohamed Farmajo – whose recent election Guterres praised as a “moment of hope” for Somalia – declared the drought a “national disaster,” urgently appealing to the international community to help respond to the crisis.
Unless more funding is promised to the drought appeal in Somalia, it is likely that cholera rates will continue to rise.