Cholera plagues famine-stricken East Africa: Aid group

Cholera plagues famine-stricken East Africa: Aid group

Millions of lives at risk as waterborne diseases plague regions hit by drought, famine, International Rescue Committee says


By Magdalene Mukami


( — Cholera is plaguing East African nations which have been hit by famine and drought, according to a report released by The International Rescue Committee (IRC) on Tuesday.

The IRC said that millions of children living in the region were at risk of contracting and dying from preventable waterborne diseases, with malnourished children being more susceptible to cholera and five times more likely to die from disease.

The international aid group said that according to its data, the number of people dying from highly contagious diseases such as acute watery diarrhea and cholera in Yemen, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia had risen to over 2,100 since early 2017 with over 130,000 reported cases.

Michelle Gayer, emergency health director at the IRC said in a press release that an influx of refugees had also created a perfect environment for the disease of waterborne diseases.

“Refugees are being driven from their homes and are arriving to temporary settlements en masse, creating perfect conditions for the disease to spread,” she said, adding the disease could spread to “disastrous” levels if not addressed immediately.

“With inadequate humanitarian funding, aid agencies are not able to build up and deliver services quickly enough to address food insecurity and the cholera outbreak. This is a recipe for disaster,” she warned.

Since early 2016, the East African region has been hit by a drought which has left more than 11 million people facing starvation, according to the UN. Three million are in Kenya alone, according to a government announcement in February.