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Cholera cases surge in Kenya amidst flooding crisis

Children suffering from severe diarrhea are treated at a clinic of the International Medical Corps in a displaced people's camp, Monday, Nov. 3, 2008 i   -  
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Flooding in Kenya's Tana River County has escalated the threat of cholera, with 44 reported cases highlighting concerns about the spread of water-borne diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement on Tuesday, May 7 emphasized the collaborative efforts between Kenyan authorities, WHO, and other agencies to monitor and respond to health issues exacerbated by the floods nationwide.

“Forty-four cholera cases have been reported in Tana River County, one of the most flood-affected areas. The Government of Kenya has mounted a multisectoral emergency response, led by the Kenya Disaster Emergency Operations Centre in the country’s capital, Nairobi. “ Dr Pius Mutuku, medical epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health said.

He confirmed the impact of the floods has caused the closure of 14 health facilities and a shortage of major water treatment plants “leading to a shortage of potable water for 3000 people”.

Though Tana River County is among the hardest hit by the deluge, local media reports that the impact of the flooding extends beyond Tana River, affecting over a quarter-million individuals across Kenya, with a staggering 238 reported deaths.

READ ALSO: Kenya: Death toll from floods passes 200

Kenya's Health Principal Secretary, Mary Muthoni, issued a stark warning about the looming crisis posed by waterborne diseases if not addressed promptly. Alongside health officials, she distributed water purification supplies in Nairobi, emphasizing the dual threat of contaminated water sources and foodborne illnesses exacerbated by the floods.

The WHO reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the government's emergency response efforts, underscoring the importance of swift containment to prevent the escalation of disease outbreaks. To bolster these efforts, the WHO has procured cholera, inter-agency, and pneumonia kits for distribution to key counties, with the capacity to treat approximately 10,000 individuals.

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