Addis Abeba – UN says 20 people have died and number of reported cases reached 491 as cholera outbreak spread to 41 kebeles of 4 woredas of Bale Zone of Oromia and 2 woredas of Liban zone of Somali region as of 23 November 2022.
According to a new report by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 102 out of 491 reported cases are IDPs and additional close to 555,000 people are at high-risk in the six woredas.
The report says number of affected people has increased by 28 per cent in the last two weeks. A preceding report put the death toll and number of cases at 9 and 330 respectively as of 31 October.
Harana Buluk, Berbere, Delo Mena and Gura Damole in Bale zone of Oromia, and Quarsadula and Guradamole in neighboring Liban zone of Somali region are the woredas hit by the outbreak.
In Guradamole woreda of Liban zone, cases are expanding at high pace, especially across IDP spontaneous sites where more than 60 per cent of the new affected caseloads are recorded, the report added.
“The reported cases mostly fall within the age range of 0 to 14 years (with 28 per cent children under five), with 50 per cent being female.”
“The use of unsafe water from contaminated water points is the most likely cause of this outbreak (most of the patients have reported collecting water from rivers and open wells). Limited access to water and sanitation (WASH) services, poor hygiene practices, including open defecation and lack of water treatment options are among the factors that have contributed to the rapid spread of the disease across the zones,” the report added.
The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and Oromia Region Health Bureau (ORHB), with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, have deployed a multidisciplinary rapid response team (RRT) to the Bale zone to contain the outbreak.
OCHA said response to the outbreak is hindered due to insufficient funding and limited aid organizations presence in the area.
Adding that, “Coping mechanisms of the affected communities have been deteriorating due to multiple consecutive shocks, notably the current drought, conflict leading inter alia to a high prevalence of malnutrition, especially among the IDPs community”.
The first cholera case was reported in Harana Buluk woreda of Bale zone on 27 August this year. AS