SOMALIA: Agencies, NGOs Fight Cholera and Food Crisis in the South
NAIROBI, 11 February 1999 (IRIN) - UN agencies and NGOs continue their relief efforts in southern Somalia, hit by a combination of war, poor weather and economic decline, according to the UN Country Team (UNCT) in Somalia. A task force spearheaded by WHO, UNICEF and partner NGOs is fighting a cholera outbreak in parts of the south. The 27 January-9 February 1999 edition of the UNCT Somalia Monitor reports that over 2,200 cases and 35 deaths have been recorded in Mogadishu, Burhakaba (in Bay region), Kismayo (Lower Juba) and Marca (Lower Shabelle) since the outbreak began in early December.
In its January 1999 review, UNICEF Somalia says an estimated one million people are at high risk (including 300,000 persons - 60,000 of them children under five - at very high risk) from a food crisis in central/south Somalia. Surveys in the southern regions of Bay and Bakool showed a malnutrition rate of over 20 percent and severe malnutrition rates of five to seven percent in November-December 1998, UNICEF says.
The WFP’s Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) reports in its ‘Food Security Highlights’ for January 1999 that water is in short supply in much of Somalia, especially Bay, Bakool and Gedo. Parts of Hiran, Lower Shabelle and Upper Shabelle reported favourable production for irrigated crops, it says. But rainfed crops fared badly, with total crop failure reported in the main sorghum-producing areas of Bay and Bakool. According to the FSAU, WFP and CARE have distributed food to many of the worst-hit areas. However, WFP warned last week that hunger would become more severe and widespread in southern Somalia unless, in addition to food aid, large quantities of seeds and food were rushed to destitute households.
Health & Nutrition,
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]