UNOCHA warns over cholera outbreak in southern Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on Friday warned over the spread of cholera outbreak in the southeastern part of Ethiopia.

The UNOCHA, in its latest situation update report, said the Ethiopian government and health partners are responding to a cholera outbreak in the Bale zone of Oromia region since late September 2022.

Figures from the UNOCHA indicated that as of Oct. 5, a total of 155 cases were reported as the outbreak spread into three districts.

Across the Bale zone, 81 cases were reported in the Berbere district, 69 cases in the Harena Buluk district, and an additional five cases were reported in the Delo Mena district, according to the UNOCHA.

It further warned that the outbreak risks spreading into neighboring zones of Borena, East and West Hararge, Guji and West Arsi.

"Outbreak mitigation and response are ongoing by government and health partners, but the response needs to urgently be scaled up," the UNOCHA said.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) recently said the recent cholera outbreak is drought-related as Ethiopia is currently experiencing one of the most severe droughts in recent history, in which the Oromia region is one of the worst affected areas.

The IFRC said the drought-related cholera is due to a number of compounding factors, which includes the limited accessibility and availability of safe drinking and cooking particularly in rural areas where many people are exposed to untreated water sources.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholerae. It remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development.

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