The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it had ramped up response to curb cholera transmission in Somalia after devastating flooding caused by heavy rains that pounded several parts of the country.
Since January 2023, a total of 18,304 suspected cases of cholera including 46 associated deaths were reported from 29 districts. “The overall case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.3 percent reported from 30 districts is below the emergency threshold of 1 percent. However, the CFR in Beledweyne is higher than the emergency threshold,” WHO said in its latest update. According to the UN health agency, the number of new cholera cases increased by almost 32 percent in flood-affected districts in the past two weeks due to a cholera outbreak in Beledweyne, a town in central Somalia. “WHO and health partners have scaled up the implementation of cholera response activities in districts affected by floods resulting from the El Nino season since October 2023,” it said. The WHO said Somalia has had uninterrupted cholera transmission in 30 drought-affected districts since 2022 and in Banadir region in southern Somalia since the drought of 2017.
In late 2023, humanitarian agencies warned that the risk of waterborne diseases and other health hazards is likely to increase due to contamination of water sources and stagnant water due to flooding.