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Heavy Rains, Disease Affecting Drought Refugees In Somalia, Kenya And Ethiopia

People who have fled the drought in Somalia to camps near the capital Mogadishu are being hit by cold, heavy rains, and at least five people have died of exposure, according to aid workers, BBC News reports.  

“Osman Duflay, a Mogadishu doctor, told the BBC’s World Update program that camp residents were facing ‘disaster,'” the news service writes. “Especially the under-fives and the pregnant women, they’re suffering from malnutrition and communicable disease like the measles, diarrhea and pneumonia,” Duflay said (7/15).

UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said Friday that Ethiopian health officials have reported at least 17,584 measles cases, including 114 deaths, in the first half of the year, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. In addition, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic “says at least 462 cases of measles, including 11 deaths, have been confirmed in recent months among Somali refugee children in the Kenyan refugee complex known as Dadaab,” the news agency writes (7/15).

In an article examining the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), SciDev.Net reports that “[f]orecasting systems were warning about a serious drought in the Horn of Africa as much as a year ago – but communication problems between scientists and decision-makers meant the alerts went largely unheeded, according to forecasters” (Tatalovic, 7/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.