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Hundreds dead in Somalia cholera epidemic


A cholera epidemic in drought-hit southern Somalia has killed hundreds of people, including at least 80 in just the past three days, health officials said on Monday.

Officials said 50 people had died in and around the towns of Dinsor and Qansahdhere in the Bay region of Somalia in the last three days. They had recorded nearly 400 deaths in the last two weeks

. In the nearby town of Bardera in the Gedo region, another 30 people have died in quarantine facilities in the last three days, district commissioner Mohamud Abdi Takuul said.

Officials said they believed casualties could be much higher as many more people may have died in remote villages.

The region has been badly hit by a drought afflicting much of eastern African this year.

Officials say five people are dying every day of drought and hunger-related causes in the Gedo region alone.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed for aid to feed 600,000 Somalis affected by drought, although it says the number needing aid could double if rains fail again this year.

Somalia descended into anarchy after the ouster of military leader Mohamed Siad Barre from Mogadishu in 1991.

On Sunday, a convoy of around 50 trucks carrying food aid donated by WFP and Care International, became the first to negotiate the road between the capital Mogadishu and the inland town of Baidoa in around nine months.

The convoy, escorted by heavily-armed militiamen and given safe passage by local warlords, was bringing 580 tonnes of maize, sorghum, beans and porridge for the Bay and Bakol regions.


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