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WHO aids flood-hit populations across Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean Region


The impact of successive storms, cyclones and heavy rains has been severe in 2019, and in the wake of heavy flooding, WHO is upping disease surveillance actions and providing critical supplies to hard-hit populations across Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Well over a million people have been affected in some of the worst-hit countries of Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Flood-hit populations face increased risk of illness or death from water-borne diseases and other diseases that spread easily in overcrowded, temporary shelters.

Together with governments, other UN agencies and partners, WHO works to reduce the risk of outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and other infectious diseases.

Almost 1 million people have been affected in South Sudan, where 60% of flood-hit areas already faced extreme levels of malnutrition. Since the latest rains began in July, 42 nutrition centres have been forced to suspend their services.

To aid the government’s emergency response, WHO is sending experts and airlifting medical supplies to hard-hit areas.

In Somalia and Somaliland floods have led to the displacement of over 300 000 people since September.

Many flood-hit districts are cholera hotspots, where people already faced limited access to health facilities. With many roads now impassable, and an upsurge of malaria and diarrhoea, the situation for many is critical.

In line with the government’s relief plan, WHO has helped deploy 20 emergency response teams, 10 rapid response teams, and distributed 483 medical supply packages that include supplies to manage cholera and trauma.

Over 2 200 people have been treated for pneumonia, measles, diarrhea and other health issues.

In the Central African Republic, recent floods have left 23 000 people displaced. WHO is distributing mosquito nets, cholera treatment, and other vital supplies to tackle water-borne diseases.

To assess the impact of the floods across Africa, gauge further risks and potential gaps, WHO is creating an analytical report covering all affected African countries.

In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Cyclonic Storm Luban struck Yemen in October, killing 14 and displacing 800. In response, WHO’s prepositioned supplies and medical kits are being used to aid stricken populations.

Storm Luban is just one example of how 2019 has become the most active North Indian cyclone season on record, with climate change stirring up extreme weather patterns worldwide.

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