More than twenty five thousand people have been struck by Cholera or acute water Diarrhoea as a result of the extreme drought that has hit Somalia.
According to a World Health Organisation findings, 50 000 cases are foreseen in that country and that figure is expected to double in the coming months.
Somalia is suffering from a severe drought that means more than half of its 12 million citizens are expected to need aid by July.
Families have been forced to drink slimy, infected water after the rains failed and rivers dried up.
The UN is already racing to avoid a repeat of famine in the drought-hit country where more than 250,000 people died of starvation in 2011.
The UN children’s agency, UNICEF and partners have increased their response to combat cholera and acute watery diarrhoea by providing an integrated package of nutrition, water, sanitation and emergency health services.
This year, UNICEF aims to reach 1.5 million people with access to clean water and at least 700,000 Somalis with emergency health care services.
“We have not declared a famine yet but we are very close. Very serious malnutrition, probably more than 200,000 children are going to suffer from severe malnutrition in the country and now we have cholera on top of this. So we really need to pull all our capacities and resources together to stop this,” said UNICEF’S Director, Office of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine.
According to the UN, death rates among Somalis infected with cholera now has reached 14.1 percent in Middle Juba and 5.1 percent in Bakool.
Thirteen of Somalia’s 18 regions are affected by cholera. One of the worst hit is Baidoa, situated in south-central Somalia.
Families from rural areas are moving to cities to search for food as animals die and water sources evaporate, forcing many to drink water infected with deadly cholera bacteria.
“We lost all of our livestock because of the drought and drought was caused by no rain. Most of our livestock was goats and, if there is no rain, the goats cannot survive because they cannot graze and there is no water for drinking. We travelled with others who suffered from this drought and we came to the IDP camp. After, we got sick and then we were referred to this hospital,” said Howa Gali Yusuf, a mother whose baby has cholera.
“When I was in Baidoa, I found out my child had diarrhoea. She drank water and that is the source of the contamination,” added Mohammed Hassan, who also has a child with cholera.
The current drought is threatening to turn into famine, with millions depending on aid for their livelihood.
“We were affected by the drought, we had nothing to eat and our farms were also affected by the drought. On the way, we feared Al Shabaab and hyenas. We were told in Baidoa, there was distribution of food and water and that is why we came,” said 13-year old refugee, Asma Ufurow.
The United Nations is asking for $825 million to provide aid to 6.2 million Somalis, about half the country’s population.