Sahel humanitarian situation worsened by cholera outbreakListen /
An outbreak of cholera in parts of the Sahel region is likely to worsen an already dire humanitarian situation for thousands of people affected by drought, according to United Nations aid agencies.
Worst affected are Niger and Northern Mali where the onset of the rains has worsened the already poor sanitary conditions especially in camps housing those displaced by the insecurity in Mali.
The World Health Organization(WHO) says contaminated water form the River Niger is suspected to be the source of the disease.
In Northern Mali UNICEF says two children have already died as a result of the cholera outbreak, while in Niger WHO says over 54 cholera deaths and 2,242 suspected cases have been reported since the beginning of the year.
UNICEF, the UN refugee agency UNHCR and WHO are appealing for increased financial support for the Sahel humanitarian response plan.
Marixie Mercado is the spokesperson for UNICEF.
"An upsurge of cholera in the Sahel is placing children already weakened by malnutrition at acute risk. The number of cholera cases has shot up especially in regions bordering the Niger River. Cholera is recurrent throughout the Sahel and last year over 67,000 cholera cases were reported mainly in the Lake Chad basin countries of Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria. This year the epidemic appears to be concentrated further to the west of around Niger and Mali, where its impact is aggravated by massive displacement of people fleeing the conflict in northern Mali. More than 330,000 people a fifth of them children have fled their homes with 150,000 internally displaced inside Mali and over 180,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries."