According to the World Health Organization, drastic improvements are needed to ensure access to clean water worldwide.
Simultaneously, the Red Cross struck a powerful cholera alarm in Somalia.
WHO state that annually, hundreds of thousands die from drinking water contaminated by faeces. The organization urged countries to invest in access to safe drinking water, especially in developing countries.
‘Today, nearly two billion people are using a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces; that puts them at risk of being infected with cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio’, said Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s department of public health.
Drought affected Somalia is battling a growing cholera epidemic. According to the UN, cholera and acute diarrhea have killed more than 500 people in Somalia since January. Today, over 25,000 people are affected by cholera or acute diarrhea, and the
epidemic is expected to infect twice as many over the next few months.
The Red Cross fears that the consequences will be just as bad as the famine of 2011.
‘We fear a multiplication of those sick and dying of cholera because the population is already severely weakened by the drought, and more will be forced to drink contaminated water’, said Secretary General Bernt G. Apeland of the Red Cross.
The aid organization sent an extra team to the cholera-affected areas.
‘We must act quickly to prevent cholera and other diseases that create acute diarrhea from spreading in the famine-affected areas. It is often these diseases that cause famine to lead to death’, said Apeland.
Mortality among those infected in the drought-stricken Somalia now stands at 2.1%. That is double the limit set for when a situation is designated an emergency.
Cholera can be treated by replacing fluid loss, and with antibiotics. Cholera bacteria are excreted in faeces, and if the bacteria comes into contact with drinking water, it can cause infection, especially in a population already weakened by
malnutrition and drought.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today