World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Over 3 Million At Risk From East African Floods

With Over 3 Million At Risk From East African Floods, UN Steps Up Airdrops, Fundraising

New York, Dec 8 2006 1:00PM

With up to 1.8 million East Africans already at risk of infectious diseases and malnutrition from some of the worst flooding in recent memory, a figure than could top 3 million by the end of the month, United Nations agencies today stepped up their relief operations, from airdrops of critical supplies to appeals for emergency funding.

“The floods are expected to continue until at least the end of December if not into early next year,” UN World Health Organization (<"">WHO) Representative in Kenya David Okello warned. “We are already experiencing a serious situation where people are dying from disῥases related to the water and sanitation situation. Malaria will become a very serious problem in tῨe weeks to come.

A combination of displacement, living in crowding conditions, lack of safe water and the destruction of sanitation systems is putting 1.5 to 1.8 million people at risk of cholera, measles and malaria as well as nutrition deficiencies in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The three countries share similar health profiles. In Ethiopia, some 40,000 cases of acute watery diarrhoea have been reported, including over 400 deaths. In Somalia, 100 cases have occurred, particularly in children under five. Insecurity in Somalia is escalating and people fleeing the conflict are seeking refuge in Kenya. This will sharply increase the number of people living in camps, and the potential for health risks, WHO warned.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (<"">UNICEF) today launched an appeal for $24.2 million to address the immediate needs of the flood victims, warning that with more rain on the way the number of those directly affected could total more than 3 million by the end of December.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (<"">UNHCR) said that with the help of the United States military it was starting today an emergency airdrop of over 240 tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies, including plastic sheets, blankets and mosquito nets, to thousands of mainly Somali refugees affected by massive flooding in northern Kenya.

“We have been facing serious difficulties in transporting the emergency supplies from Nairobi [the capital] to Dadaab due to poor road conditions,” UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva, referring to a complex of six camps hosting some 160,000 refugees. “The US military will use a C-130 cargo plane to ῡirdrop the supplies, with 15 rotations planned between today and Wednesday.

After a five-day break, heavy rain has started falling again in Dadaab, causing new flooding. With the access road cut by the flooding, the only way of getting supplies in has been with small cargo planes. The airdrops are needed as the airstrip cannot take the weight of a C-130.

WHO is ensuring a stockpile of essential drugs for the treatment of waterborne diseases and laboratory equipment. It is also discussing with the Government of Kenya an immunization campaign against measles.

In Kenya overall, more than 700,000 people have so far been affected, the majority of whom remain unreachable, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (<"">OCHA) spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs told the Geneva briefing.

The Kenya Red Cross was using small canoes to evacuate those marooned but these were not completely safe on the Tana River where hippopotamus and crocodiles could easily capsize them. UN agencies have approached international donors in Nairobi for assistance for three months.

In Somalia some 444,000 people along the Juba and Shabelle rivers have already been affected. According to the worst case, scenario up to 1 million could be directly affected in the coming weeks, Ms. Byrs said.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news