Cholera kills 12, affects more than 1,500 in Dadaab
16 February 2016, 08:13
Nairobi - At least 12 Somali refugees have died and more than 1,500 fallen sick with cholera at the world's largest refugee camp complex Dadaab in east Kenya over the past two weeks, the UN said on Monday.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that together with other aid workers, it was working to stop the spread of the outbreak by setting up four cholera treatment centres with more than 200 beds to respond to the outbreak.
"As of Jan. 31, the outbreak has affected over 1,535 people and resulted in the loss of life for 12 refugees," UNHCR said in its Bi-weekly report released in Nairobi on Monday.
The UN refugee agency said a cholera outbreak control team of aid workers including officials from Kenya's government agencies was formed immediately after the first cholera case was reported.
"In addition, refugee leaders, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health committees and community at large have been actively engaged in these efforts and working alongside agencies in mitigating and controlling Cholera," UNHCR said.
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Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhoea, and the outbreak has been exacerbated by weeks of heavy rains in Kenya.
Once people are infected through contaminated water or food, cholera spreads quickly. This spread is accelerated by poor hygiene practices and inadequate sanitation and the disease can only be halted by improving hygiene conditions.
The UNHCR said promoting hygiene and public awareness campaigns are the main parts of the broader response to mitigate the effects of rains and control further spread of the outbreak in camps.
"UNHCR and its partner agencies have been carrying out soap distribution, houses and latrine disinfection and hygiene promotion campaign across all the five camps in Dadaab," the report says.
Dadaab has been through the rainy season, this time experiencing El Nino heavy rains during the months of November and December 2015.
The report comes as malnutrition continues to threaten the lives of thousands of children across Somalia and the situation is aggravated by constrained humanitarian access in southern and central regions of the country.
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