Cases of deadly diarrhoea mount in Ethiopian capital, warns UN

The use of contaminated water has contributed to an acute watery diarrhoea outbreak in Ethiopia

8 September 2009 – The United Nations emergency humanitarian relief wing today warned of an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea rife in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa that is threatening to continue its spread across other regions of the country.

Local health authorities reported a total of 2,330 new cases of the disease and 22 deaths between 17 and 23 August, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In response to the epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has committed $30,000 for surveillance, case management and training activities, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) pledged $100,000 for training and operational costs.

UNICEF also sent 20,000 bottles of water guards to the Addis Ababa health bureau to enable the same number of households to access clean water for one month. The agency is also finalizing preparations to establish sanitation facilities in a number of areas in the coming two weeks

Meanwhile, the lack of food in many areas in eastern Ethiopia has prompted the World Food Programme (WFP) to underscore the need for an immediate and comprehensive contingency plan to feed the vulnerable people, especially given the prospect of poor food production in the coming months.

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