“Cholera has broken out in the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, home to nearly 500,000 Somali refugees, the United Nations said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports (Nebehay, 11/15). “There are now 60 cases of cholera in [Kenya’s Dadaab complex], including 10 laboratory-confirmed cases and one refugee death, according to Andrej Mahecic, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” the U.N. News Centre writes.
“Up to 3.2 million South Sudanese children have received vaccinations against polio in a United Nations-backed campaign to ensure the new country remains free of the deadly disease, more than two years after the last case was reported,” the U.N. News Centre reports. The three-phase campaign, which is being coordinated by South Sudan’s health ministry and backed by UNICEF and the WHO, will continue with additional immunizations next month, according to the news service. “Polio … re-emerged in South Sudan in April 2008, but after an intensive vaccination campaign, no new cases have been reported since June 2009,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/14).
Health Of Millions Of Children In East Asia, Pacific At Risk Due To Climate Change, UNICEF Report Says
“Climate change is expected to worsen the plight of millions of children in East Asia and the Pacific who already lack food and clean water and are vulnerable to disease, … UNICEF said Monday … in its report (.pdf) ‘Children’s vulnerabilities to climate change and disaster impacts in East Asia and the Pacific,'” AlertNet reports. “‘Higher temperatures have been linked to increased rates of malnutrition, cholera, diarrheal disease and vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria,’ putting children at far greater risk of contracting these diseases and succumbing to their complications, the report said,” the news service writes.
“Millions of Cambodians are set to receive insecticide-treated mosquito nets as part of a government-led effort to mitigate the risk of malaria and dengue fever,” IRIN reports. “The nets will be distributed by the National Malaria Control Centre with technical assistance from WHO” and funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to IRIN. “The project aims to distribute 785,000 insecticide-treated nets in six provinces this month, including three of those hit hardest by the worst flooding in more than a decade, and “[i]n December, 1,915,000 insecticide-treated nets will be distributed in 13 provinces, the health ministry said,” IRIN writes. In 2010, Cambodia recorded 56,217 malaria cases and 135 deaths from the disease, according to the news service, which adds “Prime Minister Hun Sen [has] set a target for eliminating deaths from malaria by 2015, and infections by 2025” (11/14).
Ethiopia has reduced its child mortality rates by more than half since 1990, from about 20 percent to 8.8 percent, “through campaigns to increase the number of health workers and clinics throughout the country, government and aid officials said on Friday,” Reuters reports. “Reducing malnutrition, which is an underlying factor in at least half of all under-five deaths, has had a profound impact on the survival rates of children,” Ethiopia State Minister of Health Keseteberhan Admassu “told a gathering of representatives of United Nations agencies,” according to the news agency. “Keseteberhan said the nationwide malnutrition rate has been slashed by 32 percent, with prevalence to being underweight dropping to 28.7 percent in 2010 from 42.1 percent in 2000,” Reuters writes (Maasho, 11/11).
UNICEF Distributing Hygiene, Sanitation Items In Flood-Affected Thailand To Help Prevent Disease Spread
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is distributing more than 300,000 hygiene and sanitation items to flood-affected families in Thailand, in an effort to prevent the spread of communicable diseases in the Asian country,” Bernama reports. The risk of water-borne diseases is increased in flood-affected areas, but that risk “can be reduced through safe sanitation and improved hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing,” according to the news agency (11/11). According to a UNICEF press release, the agency “has budgeted $1.2 million to provide emergency relief and post-flood assistance … in the areas of health, child protection, water supply and sanitation, hygiene promotion and education” to an estimated three million flood-affected people (11/10).
“[A] lack of action on climate change and habitat destruction will threaten the progress of developing countries,” because environmental sustainability affects “a wide range of social issues,” including “health, education, income, gender disparities and energy production, combined with protection of the ecosystem,” according to the U.N. Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report 2011, titled, “Sustainability and Equity: a Better Future for All,” VOA News reports. The report “argues that if you invest in people’s health and schooling, the population will be a better keeper of its environmental resources over the long term,” according to the news service (Lewis, 11/8).
Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg on Tuesday “urged donors to give generously to assist Nicaragua and El Salvador cope with the aftermath of the recent floods, saying that the scale of the disaster is beyond what the small Central American nations can handle on their own,” the U.N. News Centre reports. According to the news service, approximately 1.2 million people in the region are affected by flooding, “[t]housands of homes have been damaged and hundreds of schools, roads and health facilities are closed,” and [w]ater-borne diseases are spreading …, she added.” Bragg also said food security was a concern, as thousands of acres of crops were destroyed, “‘making it increasingly difficult for people to get enough food for the next six months,’ she stated,” the news service notes (11/8).
The U.N. and several other international aid groups, including Oxfam, Save the Children, Care and ACTED, on Wednesday “warn[ed] they are running short of money and supplies to help millions of people affected by floods in Pakistan,” the Associated Press reports (11/9). “Floods in August hit Sindh province in the south, killing at least 430 people and disrupting the lives of nine million. Many people are still camping out in the open with little food, water or shelter,” Reuters writes, adding “agencies fear flood victims could suffer from a major outbreak of dengue fever, malaria and acute respiratory infection” (Conway, 11/9). The U.N., which has raised just $96.5 million of the $357 million it wants for flood relief, called the appeal ‘distressingly underfunded,'” the Guardian notes (Ford, 11/9).
The Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti on Tuesday “filed claims with the United Nations seeking damages on behalf of more than 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families,” the Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Daniel, 11/8).