Funds shortage puts Zimbabwe’s cholera relief in jeopardyJanuary 23rd, 2009 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS
Johannesburg, Jan 23 (DPA) As the death toll from Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak inches towards 3,000, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Friday issued a desperate appeal for funding to keep its relief operations afloat.The Red Cross is leading the non-governmental response to the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe.
Its work, which includes rehabilitating the old and setting up new water supply, sanitation and cholera treatment systems, is critical to attempts to check the spread of the waterborne, diarrhoea-related disease.
The scale of the operation is unprecedented in Red Cross terms - bigger, in terms of the number of emergency health units deployed than its response to the Myanmar cyclone last year. But the organisation could have to suspend within a month if it doesn’t receive new funds.
“As it stands now, we won’t be able to continue our operations beyond the next four weeks,” Tony Maryon, head of the IFRC’s team in Zimbabwe, said in a statement.
In December, the Geneva-based organisation appealed for 10.2 million Swiss francs ($9.2 million) in funding for the Zimbabwe cholera emergency. To date donors have only stumped up 40 percent.
In the meantime cholera continues to spread. The number of dead rose 20 percent over the past week to 2,755. In total, 48,000 people are infected with the disease.
“Because of the severity of this outbreak, we fear that it will take many more weeks to get it under control,” said Maryon.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross has deployed 1,000 volunteers across the country. A key component of their work is sensitising ordinary people to the risk of infection and giving them the basic tools, like water purification tablets, to protect themselves.
“Because of the breakdown in the information infrastructure, people don’t know why people are dying,” said Matthew Cochrane, the IFRC’s southern Africa spokesman.
Cochrane cited the example of one area, where fishermen were burying their cholera dead along the banks of the lake where they fish, completely unaware they risked contaminating the water and putting further lives at risk.
- Nearly 300 die of cholera in Sierra Leone: WHO - Sep 21, 2012
- UN warns 3.5 million children at water-borne disease risk in flood-hit Pakistan - Aug 17, 2010
- At least 796 dead in Haiti's cholera outbreak, up to 200,000 in risk - Nov 12, 2010
- Zimbabwe past 'worst case scenario': Red Cross - Feb 10, 2009
- Ghana cholera toll rises to 21 - Apr 19, 2012
- Cholera outbreak in Cuba after 130 years - Jul 15, 2012
- Rains could worsen cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe - Jan 05, 2009
- 3.5 mn Pakistani children at risk of fatal diseases - Aug 17, 2010
- Death toll from Typhoon Bolaven in North Korea reaches 59 - Sep 06, 2012
- Four million flood-hit Pakistanis still homeless: Red Cross - Jan 22, 2011
- International Red Cross makes emergency appeal for 10 million USD - Jan 14, 2010
- Hindus appeal world for more aid to handle Haiti cholera outbreak - Nov 15, 2010
- Cholera Claims About 800 Lives In West Africa - Sep 11, 2010
- Copper effective against new E. coli strains - Jun 03, 2011
- Cholera claimed 4,000 lives in Haiti - Jan 26, 2011
Tags: basic tools, cholera outbreak, cochrane, cyclone, death toll, desperate appeal, diarrhoea, emergency health, health units, ifrc, information infrastructure, international federation, maryon, new water, ordinary people, red crescent societies, relief operations, southern africa, swiss francs, water purification tablets