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WHO intensifies its response cholera in Somalia amid El Nino rains

Cholera outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday it is scaling up efforts to prevent cholera transmission in Somalia as flash floods from torrential rains continue to hit several parts of the country.

The WHO said since January, a total of 44,279 new suspected cases of cholera, including 40 associated deaths, were reported from 29 districts of Somalia.

“The number of new cases decreased by 28 percent in all districts and by seven-fold in Baidoa in the past two weeks,” the WHO said in its latest update released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

According to the UN health agency, Somalia has had uninterrupted cholera transmission in 29 drought-affected districts since 2022 and in the Banadir region since the drought of 2017.

“WHO and health partners have scaled up the implementation of cholera preparedness and response activities for flash floods resulting from the El Nino season,” it said.

The latest move comes after the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO-SWALIM) has warned of increased flooding across the country.

The flash and riverine floods caused by heavy rains have killed at least 32 people in Somalia and displaced more than 500,000 others, according to the Somali Disaster Management Agency.

FAO-SWALIM also 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.

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