An ongoing cholera outbreak in Ethiopia has claimed 156 lives so far, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in its latest situation update.
“Since May 7, the cholera outbreak keeps spreading with an increase of confirmed cases by 85 percent from 6,157 to 11,407 cases as of June 20 with 156 associated deaths,” the UNOCHA said Wednesday.
The current cholera outbreak is among the longest ever in the East African country, with the first case recorded in August 2022, the UNOCHA said.
The UNOCHA said the outbreak’s cumulative case fatality rate of 1.36 percent is higher than the globally agreed threshold of 1 percent.
The UNOCHA warned that the upcoming rainy season is likely to trigger new flooding incidents across the country. It called for urgent and immediate preparedness actions to contain the possible spread of cholera outbreak across the affected and other parts of the country.
It said since the onset of the outbreak, it has only been contained in 15 percent of the affected areas, mainly due to inadequate responses, which was further compounded by contamination of water sources and limited access due to insecurity and floods.
“With limited availability of Oral Cholera Vaccine and inadequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, more than 7.7 million people remain at high-risk in affected areas and at displacement sites,” it warned.
A vaccination campaign was recently conducted in Oromia, Somali and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples regions of Ethiopia, vaccinating more than 1.9 million people with one dose only, due to global supply shortage, it said.
The UNOCHA underscored that urgent additional funds are required to scale up cholera response and preparedness efforts in Ethiopia. ■