MOGADISHU, April 12 (Xinhua) -- An outbreak of cholera/ acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) in Somalia's semi-autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland has killed over 85 people, a global charity said Wednesday.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said 28 people were killed in the last ten days and 167 others hospitalized in Somaliland alone.
In neighboring Puntland, more than 1,600 cases of cholera/AWD with 57 deaths have been recorded since January, the charity said in a statement.
Julie Hall, IFRC Director of Health, said during the 2011 famine in Somalia, tens of thousands of people suffering from hunger died from preventable and treatable diseases like diarrhoea.
"What often stands between hunger and death is disease. We must move quickly to stop the spread of disease and provide those affected with treatment. Diseases haunt those who are hungry -- we can fight this," said Hall.
The charity said the outbreak has overwhelmed remote communities in drought-ravaged region. More than 411 cases of cholera/AWD have been reported in Somaliland since the beginning of April.
The vulnerable children and adults, already struggling to cope with malnutrition and food insecurity caused in large part by the failure of 2016's two rainy seasons, were struck down by the deadly disease after drinking contaminated water.
"This outbreak is frightening, as the people of Somaliland are already weakened by the drought and by lack of food," said Abdirasaq Ali Duran, Somaliland Tracing Assistant of Somali Red Crescent Society at Buhodle sub-branch.
IFRC said it was preparing to expand its support to the Somali Red Crescent Society, building on its existing emergency operation as part of the life-saving efforts.
The outbreak has come amid food crisis in Somalia that is growing more serious by the day with over 6.2 million people in need urgent humanitarian assistance, 2.9 million people facing crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity, and 363,000 children already suffering from acute malnutrition.