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Cholera kills 54 people in Somalia with cases rising – Save The Children

Friday March 22, 2024

MOGADISHU, 21 March, 2024 - At least 54 people have died from cholera in Somalia in recent months, said Save the Children, with nine people dying of the illness in the past week alone - the highest weekly death toll this year.

More than 59% of the 4,388 confirmed cases for 2024 – or 2,605 people – are children under five, according to the latest report from Somalia’s Ministry of Health and Human Services[1].

In the Southern States, the Banadir region has seen the highest increase in the number of reported cholera cases in the last two weeks, with 586 new cholera cases reported from 23 districts, including 331 children aged under five.

The current outbreak, which started in January 2024, is understood to be the results of the large-scale floodingthat took place in October and November 2023, according to Somalia’shealth authorities. The Banadir region was one of the worst impacted by the floods.

Save the Children is calling for urgent action by local governments and health agencies to stem the outbreak of the highly contagious disease, which spreads quickly through contaminated water. It can also spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage, flooded areas, and areas without safe drinking water – all issues that can be exacerbated by flooding.

Save the Children is rolling out an emergency response to prevent further spread of the disease, working with  the government, local partners, and communities to supports two cholera treatment centers. The aid agency is also providing hygiene kits and water treatment kits in and Beledweyn.

Save the Children’s Acting Country Director for Somalia, Mohamed Abdiladif said

“Somalia is at the front of the climate crisis. It was battered by rains and floods on the back of an horrendous drought. Children and families are extra vulnerable to illness.

“We are concerned that the cholera outbreak will spiral out of control when the rainy season starts in a month if urgent action is not  taken by government and donors to provide enough clean drinking water and sanitation facilities to  communities. These vulnerable communities have faced back to back tragedies having been forced out of their homes by flooding and conflict.

“We are doing all we can to provide humanitarian aid , including medical supplies, drugs, and cholera kits. However, more funds are  to provide  hygiene and sanitation items to prevent further spread of the cholera”

In 2023,  more than 18,300 cases of cholera were recorded in Somalia[2],  including 10,000 cases among children under 5[3].  Save the Children said the devastating El Nino flooding in November and December destroyed toilets and latrines, forcing communities, especially recently displaced families, into open defecation.

Save the Children has worked in Somalia for over 70 years and is a national and international leader in humanitarian and development programming in health, nutrition, water hygiene and sanitation, education, child protection and child rights governance. In 2023, Save the Children reached 4.7 million people in Somalia, including more than 2.47 million children.


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