Cholera outbreak in Mogadishu: Oxfam airlifts 47 tonnes of supplies

Emergencies, Media Releases, News article written on the 18 Aug 2011

International aid agency Oxfam is airlifting 47 tonnes of vital water supply and hygiene materials to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu as the aid community scales up its effort to bring relief to the drought-stricken country.

The first flight will leave Nairobi on Thursday afternoon and is part of Oxfam’s efforts to control the outbreak of cholera and reduce public health risks in highly-populated camps. In total three flights will ferry the aid.

The airlift will include water tanks and pipes to set up water points across the capital city as well as tonnes of soap bars and 12,000 jerry cans so people can carry and store water. There is sufficient aid to reach more than 120,000 people.

Oxfam partner organization Hijra, which operates in Mogadishu and the outskirts of the capital, has seen an increase in cholera cases. Hijra staff have reported that cases affecting children and women are on the rise.

The organisation has started a cholera prevention program that is reaching 20,000 people in three camps for people who have fled to Mogadishu. The work includes distributing oral rehydration salts and soap and a public information campaign advising on ways to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

Adan Kabelo, Associate Country Director for Oxfam in Somalia, said: “Clean water and soap are vital to help prevent a public health crisis, as people weakened by hunger are particularly at risk of disease. With the recent cholera outbreak in the Mogadishu, this assistance will save lives.

“Despite the many challenges of operating in Somalia, Oxfam has years of experience working with partners there to reach people in need.”

Oxfam partners operate across the country and are running the largest public health program in Somalia, providing clean water to 250,000 displaced Somalis in camps outside Mogadishu.

Oxfam’s partner agencies also operate one of the largest therapeutic feeding programs for children and mothers, feeding 3,000 severely malnourished children every week.

Across the country, 3.7 million people – nearly half of the Somali population – are now in crisis, two-thirds of whom live in the south. Oxfam aims to scale-up its programs to reach 1.4 million people within the next few months.

Oxfam has been working in Somalia for more than 20 years. The agency, which operates in partnership with local aid organisations, has so far helped more than 850,000 people in South Somalia, including Mogadishu.

For interviews or more information contact Oxfam Australia media coordinator Chee Chee Leung on 0400 732 795 or at