Ethiopia Declares Another Diarrhea Outbreak: VOA News

Ethiopia Declares Another Diarrhea Outbreak: VOA Nwes

People wait for food and water in the Warder district in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Jan. 28, 2017. Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in need.

Ethiopia has declared an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea, also known as AWD, in the country’s Somali region, where people are already struggling to cope with a persistent drought.

Dr. Akpaka Kalu, the World Health Organization representative to Ethiopia, told VOA on Friday that 16,000 cases of AWD had been recorded in the region since January.

The World Health Organization’s representative to Ethiopia Dr Akpaka Kalu (undated photo courtesy of WHO)

The total number of deaths is uncertain.

Regional President Abdi Mohammed Omar said Friday that 19 children had died of AWD in Dollo zone, an area near the southern border with Somalia. This week, residents of a remote village, Qorile, told VOA’s Somali service that dozens had died and more than 700 had received treatment for the illness.

Omar said some of the treatment centers set up to address the outbreak were making headway.

“We have managed to control the worst effects of the disease by establishing temporary emergency medical posts in remote villages,” he said.

Federal authorities have deployed 500 nurses and 68 doctors to fight the disease, in addition to 700 trained health officers, he told VOA’s Amharic service.

Additionally, the WHO has deployed teams on the ground and set up treatment camps to address the outbreak.

Kalu said a U.N. team regional coordinator, WHO representatives and a few others would go to the Somali region, also known as the Ogaden, on Saturday to assess the situation.

“From WHO, for example, we have nearing 40 people on the ground right now. A team went there today in addition to the team that’s been on the ground for some months now,” he said over the telephone. “So we are there working, supporting them to bring it under control.”

Managing the outbreak

Ethiopian officials insist on describing the outbreak as one of AWD, not cholera, which has similar symptoms.

On Monday, a woman who told VOA Somali that she had lost five relatives to cholera and that hundreds of people were suffering from the disease was reportedly arrested by Ethiopian authorities. She was released Wednesday.

In neighboring Somalia, government officials have reported more than 13,000 cases of cholera and 300 deaths since January. WHO said cholera cases were five times greater than what the country experienced last year.

It is not clear what is causing the outbreak in Ethiopia. But Kalu said the government was assessing the situation to try to determine the cause.

Asked whether it was a cholera outbreak, Kalu said, “Cholera is a laboratory diagnosis. You have to test the stool to confirm the cause of the acute watery diarrhea. The government of Ethiopia has declared it acute watery diarrhea. The [assessment] is going on to confirm the causes of acute watery diarrhea, and government is doing that.”

Projects suspended

The outbreak comes as Ethiopian authorities attempt to deal with a dire regional drought. An estimated 5.6 million Ethiopians are in need of emergency food aid. Another 6 million people face starvation in neighboring Somalia and the breakaway republic of Somaliland.

A woman holds her child as they wait to receive treatment in Kobo health center in Kobo village, one of the drought stricken areas of Oromia region, in Ethiopia, April 28, 2016.

This week Somaliland decided to suspend development projects to focus on drought response and related disease emergency assistance.

Ethiopia and Kenya have partially diverted funds from infrastructure investments to finance drought relief efforts. U.N. humanitarian coordinators have requested close to $1 billion to provide food, water and sanitation assistance in Ethiopia.

The World Food Program announced it needs $268 million to provide food assistance in Ethiopia from now until July.


  1. World health organisation are collaborators with Addis Abeba regime in the concealment and cover-up of the draught and cholera disaster in the larger part of Ogaden. The plague of cholera disease has been spreading over the last 2 months in central regions
    of Ogaden causing the death of thousands. It is only when it reached the eastern region bordering Somalia – Wardheer region, and people started fleeing to Somalia for help they started talking of the Cholerea and drought in a belittling way the number of people affected.

  2. The Ogaden Humanitarian Crisis.

    Published on April 8, 2017 by og · No Comments
    The Ogaden region continues to be affected by the humanitarian crisis currently impacting the rest of The Horn. However, the strict restrictions on trade and movement imposed by the Ethiopian government on the Ogaden region continues to exacerbate this ongoing humanitarian current crisis.

    Although a limited number of areas such as Jarar have experienced scarce rainfall recently, the crisis in the Ogaden persists. Areas in the Ogaden region which have been hit hardest include the city of Birqod, it has been confirmed that 50 people have died from Cholera.

    It was also reported that on the night of April 2nd alone, 44 people were found dead in the town of Qorile in Doolo province. Today that number is at 91.

    According to eyewitness accounts, the Liyu police evacuated many areas in order to collect the bodies of the deceased in attempt to cover up the extent of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

    Moreover, the liyu police operate similarly in other provinces where civilians have died from both cholera and hunger; this appears to be a coordinated strategy of downplaying just how critical matters really are.

    The outbreak of Cholera has not discriminated between young and old, but young children continue to die from hunger and Cholera at an alarming rate.In Dhagaxbuur, Ubax Ali just reached the age of 2 months when she passed away. Similarly, Sooc passed away in Dig before she could live to witness her second birthday.

    Other young children who lost their precious lives to the devastating famine in the Ogaden region include 6 year old Falis and 4 year old Abshir fromDhagaxbuur, 7 year old Sahro from Farmadow, 9 year old Ahmed from Dhiita and 2 year old Yussuf from Farmadow.

    This list is by no means exhaustive, but a reminder that the most vulnerable members of the population in the Ogaden continue to die from potentially preventable deaths at the hands of the Ethiopian government who has failed to offer any response to a crisis of this magnitude.

    Recent images of Abdi Mohamoud Omar posing for his camera crew whilst distributing some rice to the starving Ogaden population has taken the internet by utter dismay. Capitalising on the suffering of a starving population for personal and/or political gains is not only distasteful but incredibly sadistic.

    But more importantly, such an act does not indicate any sort alleviation of hunger and thirst, because if the Government is so concerned with the well-being of the population, why is the trade embargo not lifted? Why are NGOs and the media not allowed access to the region? and where is the emergency response to the cholera epidemic which has already claimed hundreds of lives?

    We call upon the Ogaden diaspora to urgently help the innocent civilians of the Ogaden region in whatever capacity. But namely through financial donations, by helping spread awareness, and by taking part in the global efforts of collecting and documenting the victims of the famine.

    In addition we call upon donor countries such as the United States and European states to pressure the Ethiopian government to lift the humanitarian blockade in the region so that international humanitarian organizations can deliver much needed aid to the region.

    Ogaden Youth & Student Union

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  3. The only soldiers that are still staying in Woayane military are PORK eating senior level soldiers that can not walk for more than a short distance without resting.

    These pork eating higher level soldiers even eat the lower level soldiers food supply when sent to missions. These pork eating higher level soldiers let the lower level soldiers starve to death in the jungle by denying them their water and food .

    Tigray currently got more pigs than anyother animals. Soldiers that are used to the pork keep staying in military of TPLF just so they don’t loose their free pork supply,the other soldiers especially that are on hudade fasting are deserting. Even Tigres that are on HUDADE are deserting to Sudan and Eritrea.

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