Humanitarian Health Action

Landslide and flood in Bududa and Butalija districts - Health situation report no 1

Highlights

  • Continuous heavy rains since 25 February have caused a landslide in Bududa District and flooding in Butalija District.
  • As of 4 March, 85 people had been confirmed dead and more than 300 missing.
  • Many latrines and water sources have been submerged raising the concern for a possible outbreak of waterborne diseases.
  • An assessment has shown lack of staff and supplies in most health facilities.
  • A cholera outbreak in neighbouring Manafa District strongly emphasizes the need for preventive measures.

SITUATION

  • In the eastern Elgon Region, continuous heavy rains since 25 February have caused a landslide in Bududa District and flooding in Butalija District. Based on projections from the 2002 census, both districts have a population of 160 000 and 200 000 people respectively.
  • In Bududa District, the landslide struck four villages in Bukalesi sub-county, killing many people and causing serious damages to property and infrastructure. As of 4 March, 85 people had been confirmed dead and more than 300 missing, including 60 families who are thought to be buried under the mudslide. An estimated 4000 people are displaced and in search of shelter.
  • The affected villages can only be accessed on foot and rescue operations, which are conducted with hand tools, are hampered by incessant rain and difficult terrain. So far 16 people have been rescued and are being treated in Bududa Hospital.
  • In Butalija District, more than 50 sq km of farmland have been flooded, affecting about 120 000 people. Many latrines and water sources have been submerged raising the concern for a possible outbreak of waterborne diseases. Six schools have been closed down and access to two health centres is compromised. Access roads are also seriously damaged.

HEALTH STATUS

  • Health service coverage is poor, with 45% of the population living within 5 km of a health facility. In both districts, more than half the posts in the various health facilities are vacant, while stocks of essential medicines are minimal. No first line medicines for malaria were available in any of the health centres visited during the assessment. Butalija District has no trained village health teams. The main health concern are the moment are:
    • The threat of waterborne diseases, including cholera and malaria, is very imminent and the current capacity inadequate. Two suspected cases of cholera have been reported from the flood-affected areas and being investigated.
    • Malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections and other communicable diseases are the major causes of morbidity.

HEALTH SECTOR RESPONSE

The following table summarizes the response by the government and humanitarian partners:


Organization Supplies/response
OPM ·         Overall coordination
·         Food items (2 trucks of maize flour and 1 truck of beans)
·         Deployed staff
UNICEF ·         Inter- agency emergency health kits 2006
·         100 body bags
·         600 tents and tarpaulins
·         Water purifiers
·         1000 5-litre jerry cans
·         910 blankets
·         1000 buckets
·         10 shovels
·         Deployed staff
WHO ·         3 cholera kits (each kit containing enough to treat 100 people)
·         25 body bags
·         Deployed technical staff to support coordination and public health response planning
WFP ·         Plans to do GFD in the transit camp
·         Deployed technical staff
FAO ·         Deployed technical staff
UNDP ·         Deployed staff
OCHA ·         Deployed staff
Oxfam ·         Deployed technical staff
·         Possible support local partners for NFIs, shelter materials in the transit camps.
Save the Children ·         Deployed technical staff
·          
URCS ·         Deployed technical staff for rapid assessment
·         Search and rescue
·         First aid
·         NFIs
Local District Government ·         DDMC in place
Police ·         Keeping Law and order
UPDF ·         Search and rescue
·         Security

NEEDS

  • A cholera outbreak in neighbouring Manafa District (68 cases and 17 deaths reported as of 3 March) strongly emphasizes the need for preventive measures.
  • In the health sector the most immediate needs are the following:
    • anti-malaria medicines and supplies,
    • cholera kits,
    • training for village health teams,
    • health education and mobilization,
    • disease surveillance and monitoring,
    • re-deployment of health workers from within and outside the district,
    • on-the-job training for health workers,
    • psychosocial support.

For further information please contact:

WHO Uganda Country Office
Dr Solomon Fisseha
EHA Focal Point
Tel: +256 471 32970/1
Email: fissehas@ug.afro.who.int

WHO headquarters
Dr Michel Yao
Public Health Desk Officer
Health Action in Crises
Tel: +41 22 791 3588
Email: hac_afrodesk@who.int
http://www.who.int/hac/crises/uga

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