The death toll is on the rise in a refugee camp in Kenya, where an outbreak of cholera has been reported by the United Nations, along with an increase in violence from outside forces.
The Dadaab camp is the largest refugee camp in the world home to Somalis escaping famine and conflict. On Tuesday the UN High Commissioner of Refugees released a report stating 60 cases of cholera in the camp have been found, including 10 lab-confirmed cases and one death.
The outbreak may have started with new refugees from Somali joining the camp, the BBC reported. It is believed they contracted the disease while traveling to the camp by drinking unsafe water by areas flooded with heavy rains, Reuters reported.
Cholera is picked up through contaminated water, which releases a bacteria into the intestines causing severe watery diarrhea.
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Aid operation at Dadaab camp was scaled back in October after two workers were abducted, which Kenya blames on Somali Islamist militants of the al-Shabab group, the BBC reported. The group denies the kidnappings.
Additional Kenyan police officers have been deployed in the last month to cover the complex made up of five camps, Reuters reported. The UNHCR will be supporting police with vehicles, shelter and telecommunications equipment.
The UNHCR has set up treatment centers for severe cases; most cases can be treated through oral rehydration solutions that can be given at home or at health posts, the release stated. UNICEF and the Ministry of Health are working with the UN to train health workers in the community-based management of diarrhea so patients can be treated at home. The UN has also increased levels of chlorine at water points and are promoting hygiene practices by distributing 250 grams of soap to each refugee.
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But this outbreak isn’t the only thing plaguing the refugee camp; violence targeting police in the camp has resulted in the deaths and injuries of Somali children. On Tuesday a remote controlled bomb blasted a police car in Dadaab, causing the deaths of 24 children, UNICEF told the Associated Press. This number is nearly double the amount of child killings per month at the camp.
“Somali children’s lives are being put more and more in grave danger with the increasing conflict. In accordance with international law, we call on all parties to the conflict in Somalia to stop all killing, maiming, recruitment for armed services and rape of children,” said UNICEF’s representative to Somalia, Sikander Khan, the AP reported.
Since Kenya sent hundreds of soldiers into Somalia last month, the country has been hit with a wave of attacks by Islamist militants, Reuters reported.
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