CAIRO – The International Organization for Migration warned on Tuesday that a rapid response was needed to stop the cholera epidemic in South Sudan, where rains could aggravate the situation and spread the virus.
The IOM said in a statement that its Health and Water teams were responding to the epidemic by offering cholera treatment and preventive measures throughout the African country.
The agency noted that many of the areas affected by the contagious disease were located on the banks of the Nile, so the rains this season were worsening affected communities’ situations and threatened to spread the virus even more.
“As we saw the outbreak continue even during the dry season in 2017, we expect to see the trend persist throughout the rainy season, which leaves as much as 60 percent of the country inaccessible by road,” said Beldina Gikundi, IOM South Sudan Migration Health Emergency Officer.
He also highlighted the “extremely challenging” context of the country, due to the catastrophic humanitarian situation and the nearly four million internally displaced persons.
That population is particularly vulnerable to cholera, the IOM added, and one out of five cases of cholera in 2017 were among displaced children under five.
Since June 18, 2016, there have been 18,000 infections and 328 deaths from the virus, which is transmitted mainly through contaminated water.