The situation for the 20 million people at risk of famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria remains dire, warned the U.N.’s chief humanitarian. “Twenty million people remain at risk, and 10 million more could join them without sufficient funding and improved access,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator Stephen O’Brien warned.
The world is witnessing a resurgence of cholera accompanying several hunger crises that threaten more than 20 million people in four countries. Some 100,000 people are estimated to be sick with the water-borne, often fatal bacterial disease in war-torn Yemen. Cholera outbreaks have also struck Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia in the past year.
Torrential rains over the weekend buried Sri Lanka under mudslides and the worst floods since 2003. Although the storm – now Cyclone Mora – has left for Bangladesh, the effects are far from over. Aid agencies are bracing for more possible rains as well as an uptick in dengue, cholera and other water-borne diseases.
Leading humanitarian groups warn that the cholera outbreak gripping Yemen threatens to spread across the country, which is already struggling with famine and conflict.
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to end its 13-year-long peacekeeping mission in Haiti, replacing it with a new mission focused on justice, human rights and police development.
Last year, Tanzania suffered from its largest cholera outbreak in a decade. New research helps identify the culprit – El Niño. By causing more rainfall in parts of Africa, some 177 million people experienced a threefold increase in cholera cases due to El Niño. That means 50,000 more cholera cases compared to other years.
Despite dire warnings recently from humanitarian agencies, thousands of children remain severely malnourished and remain vulnerable to cholera, diarrhea and other diseases in Somalia; the international community is not prepared.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took another step in recognizing the failures of the U.N. during the cholera outbreak in Haiti. He apologized in remarks delivered in Creole, English and French for not doing enough, but did mention the U.N.’s role in causing the outbreak.
One month after Hurricane Matthew roared through Haiti and destroyed the homes and livelihoods of some 1.4 million people, U.N. agencies and other responders are striving to provide adequate care for women and children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering whether to use just one of the usual two doses of a cholera vaccine in Haiti to vaccinate more people, albeit with a shorter protection period.