More than 300 people died of the cholera epidemic in Ogaden during the last 72 hours. Thousand are also at life-threatening stage with no medicine or health support. Although most the towns in Ogaden are affected, the disease is creating havoc in the rural areas, where there are no health facilities or emergency provisions. Villagers are reporting that families find their relatives dead in the remote areas while tending livestock. Some are found days later, mauled by wild animals. Both the Federal government of Ethiopia and the regional administration are hiding the extent of the epidemic and are not providing the urgent help that is needed.
The most affected areas are in the regions of Jarar (dhegahbuur); Nogob (to urge), Qorahay (Qabridaharre) and Shabelle. Similar deaths are reported in Doollo, Afdheer and Liibaan regions. Since November, it is conservatively estimated that more than 2000 have died in the remote rural areas in Ogaden. The situation is further exacerbated by the drought and lack of adequate food or water and people are so emancipated that anyone affected dies quickly.
Although both the UN and the Ethiopian government mention the drought and the Cholera (Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) in their reports, no concrete action has been taken. The people are dying for a curable disease that only requires a few antibiotics. However, the Ethiopian government has deprived the Somali people in Ogaden of the ability to buy medicine or food in neighbouring countries by the ruthlessly imposing an undeclared embargo on trade and aid while barring access to international NGOs and independent media to most of the Ogaden.
ONLF urgently appeals to the World Health Organisation and UN agencies to heed the call for help from the Ogaden people and take urgent action in Ogaden regarding the drought and Cholera. Visits and reports are not enough. The Ethiopian government is committing a crime tantamount to genocide in preventing the Ogaden people from having access to medicine and food – an inhumane and heinous act.
ONLF calls upon the AU, EU, USA, the OIC, ICC, and other donor countries to press the Ethiopian government and the UN to act urgently to alleviate the calamity that is unfolding in Ogaden – specifically, to allow international NGOs to provide urgent medical relief and food aid to the rural agro-pastoralist community.
ONLF calls upon the Somali people and all peoples in Ethiopian to highlight the issue to the international community and offer their support.
Issued by ONLF
For immediate release
March 8, 2017