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West African Cholera Epidemic Exacerbated By Flooding; More Than 1,800 Deaths Reported

The WHO “says 1,879 deaths have been reported” from cholera in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, the Associated Press reports. “The wave of cholera started a few months ago” and “nearly 40,500” cases have been reported in the region so far. Nigeria alone has experienced nearly 1,200 deaths, “its worst cholera outbreak in two decades,” according to the article (10/12).

U.N. News Centre adds that UNICEF “and its partners have already scaled up their activities in Chad, which is facing one of its worst cholera epidemics in 10 years, with nearly 2,600 cases and 112 deaths reported as of the start of the month. Cholera kits have been donated to hospitals and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and technical assistance provided to the health ministry” (10/12).

“The U.N. says flooding in the region, as well as poor hygiene conditions and populations movements, have contributed to the ‘unusually high incidence of cholera,'” the AP writes (10/12).

“Nearly 1.5 million people have been affected by floods and 377 killed in Western and Central Africa,” U.N. News Centre reports. Benin, which has been “hardest hit,” has declared a state of emergency and “appealed for international aid.” Burkina Faso has “launched a $14 million emergency plan and has received $2 million from the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund.” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos is expected to visit the region to meet with relief organizations and local authorities and “a U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination team will probably leave for [Benin] tomorrow” (10/12).

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