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Somalia: Flood victims face risk of malaria

11-12-1997 News Release 97/49

The ICRC has so far distributed aid to some 100,000 flood victims throughout southern Somalia, more than 40,000 of them in the Jilib/Marere area. On the Marere dyke, where 4,000 people have been trapped by floodwaters for over a month, a sanitation team has just installed water purification and supply systems in three separate places to provide the population with drinking water and improve conditions of hygiene. An assessment of the sanitation facilities in the nearby town of Hargeisa, also hit by the flooding, shows that damaged and contaminated wells could be quickly cleaned and restored to working order. ICRC sanitation engineer Pascal Jansen, who recently came back from the area, reports that it is infested with mosquitoes and that malaria is one of the major problems affecting the stricken population. " People are asking for mosquito nets, antimalarial medication and soap. "

The ICRC has now set up a mobile clinic on the Marere dike. On 10 December, an ICRC health worker will start a series of trips by motorboat to reach the many other stretches of dry land where people have taken refuge. The main purpose of this operation is to administer antimalarial treatment to the flood victims.

The assistance provided in the Jilib/Marere area forms part of a broader ICRC operation covering the whole of  the flood-stricken region along the Juba and Shabelle rivers, which in recent years has been devastated by civil war.