At least, 20 persons have died in a recent cholera outbreak that has affected 10 communities in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. It was learnt that some indigenes of the area, who had been vomiting and stooling for the past one week, were rushed to the nearest clinics in the area. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, who learnt of the outbreak on Wednesday, ordered for an immediate supply of potable water to the affected communities.

Parker, who confirmed that the disease had claimed 20 lives, gave the directive on Wednesday after visiting some of those affected by the cholera outbreak. He disclosed that 170 patients were still receiving treatment, adding that officials of the World Health Organisation and the Federal Ministry of Health had arrived at the affected communities to assist the victims.

The Health commissioner disclosed that the local government area Rapid Response team and the State Emergency Response Team were also on ground to tackle the health challenge in the area. He added that two treatment centres had been set up in Ebukuma and Okolile communities He said, “The state emergency response team and the social mobilisation team are already on the ground to assess and manage the situation. Two treatment centres have already been established at Ebukuma and Okolile to manage cases while the affected people are advised to take advantage of the facilities.”

Parker, however, told the people of the area that the situation was under control. He promised that boreholes would be sunk in the affected communities as part of measures to combat the spread of the disease. Also, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Mr. Emmanuel Okot, said the cholera outbreak, which began in November last year, affected 10 communities.

Okot, who explained that the local government had tackled the disease, expressed surprise that cholera had spread to other communities in January this year. “It involves about 10 communities and immediately we got the information, we swung into action. The disease did not just start this January, it started in the later part of last year and we went to the area concerned, tackled it and everything ended. “Later on, the thing (cholera) moved to other communities. Actually, it started around Nwiyata axis and up to Ndema area. We handled it early and everything subsided. Then around December (2014), it started at Ukwa, then it moved to Nyandela,” Okot said.

Disclosing that many of the victims of the cholera outbreak in the area were children and few adults, Okot called on the state and federal governments, donor agencies and relevant non-governmental organisations to come to the aid of the local government area. The council chairman expressed gratitude to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, for distributing relief materials to those affected by the cholera outbreak.

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