Cholera Epidemic Worsens in Somalia Amidst Flood Aftermath

Mogadishu - Somalia's cholera outbreak has intensified in recent weeks with over 2,900 new cases and 26 deaths reported since January. Health authorities are scrambling to contain the epidemic as vulnerable communities still reel from the impacts of severe flooding in late 2023.

Beledweyne district is the hardest hit, accounting for nearly 600 of the total cases,” said Dr. Omar Abdi, an epidemiologist at Banadir Hospital. “And more than half of the cases overall are children under five, reflecting their vulnerability.”

The epicenter is in central Somalia, where the floods displaced nearly 1.2 million people from their homes. But Dr. Abdi warns that “cholera is now spreading to southern areas as well.” Experts say contaminated flood waters have led to a lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation for thousands.

In response, the Health Ministry aims to provide oral vaccines to 480,000 people at high risk across four districts. “This will help protect them from infection and curb transmission,” said Health Minister Khadija Osman. She lamented that Somalia has faced “uninterrupted” cholera outbreaks since 2022, made worse by climatic shocks.

As health teams fan out to set up treatment centers and rehydration clinics, public health expert Dr. Amina Ali stressed that vaccines are only a short-term fix. “We must invest in water and sanitation infrastructure to prevent another uncontrolled outbreak,” she said. For now, communities braced for cholera’s deadly impact amidst the floods’ aftermath.

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