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In the refugee camps throughout the Horn of Africa, the lack of basic sanitation facilities -- including handwashing stations -- have created a perfect breeding ground for cholera.
Epidemic outbreaks of cholera and related diseases have been reported in Mogadishu.
In a January 2012 report concerning cholera, World Health Organization reported that as high as seventy-six percent of the cases of cholera or acute diarrhea cases seen by hospitals in the area were children under the age of five.
Elsewhere in the region, communities struggle to find clean water sources. Inadequate wells, contaminated streams, and other questionable sources help spread disases through a famine-weakened population. Again, the hardest hit population are young children and infants.
Mercy Corps is currently working on efforts to increase access to clean water and, just as importantly, cleaning stations. The establishment of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services to refugee camps and drought-impacted communities provides a practical way to contain and control the rapid spread of cholera in the region.
Photos courtesy of Mercy Corps
Cholera also is raging across the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the last year, more than 22,000 people have been infected – 1,600 of those infected in January. Shown above is Mercy Corps' recent training for community volunteers, parents and children on healthy hygiene and sanitation to prevent the disease from spreading.