Red Cross Lack Funds to Curb Cholera In Zimbabwe

by VR Sreeraman on  February 11, 2009 at 4:07 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
 Red Cross Lack Funds to Curb Cholera In Zimbabwe
The international Red Cross warned it would soon suspend its aid to tackle Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak unless donors come up with more emergency funding, as the death toll reached 3,400.

"Our operations will cease in four weeks if we don't get funds," said John Roche, head of operations in Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"All the efforts we have made today are in vain unless we receive serious funding and support," he told journalists.

Some 3,400 people have died in the cholera outbreak since August 2008 and a total of 69,593 have been infected by the disease, the latest World Health Organisation figures dated February 8 showed.

Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has continued to progress because of "many small outbreaks in rural areas which are much more difficult to reach," said Dominique Legros, a WHO official.

Another big problem in rural areas is access to clean water, he added.

The Federation has received 45 percent of the nine million dollars it needs from donors to finance attempts to control and contain the outbreak with clean water supplies, Roche said.

The emergency appeal was launched on December 23 to cover assistance for seven months.

The Red Cross was having a hard time in finding funds from donors even though the financial needs were relatively low, according to Roche.

The United Nations has already complained that international donors are slow in coming up with funding for relief operations in Zimbabwe.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday urged the international community to help rebuild Zimbabwe and end the humanitarian crisis, once a unity government is installed in Harare this week.

More than half the population needs food aid to survive, while only six percent of the workforce has jobs, according to the United Nations.

But major donors like Britain and the United States have said they will wait to see if the new government can function before giving the new administration major new aid.

Source: AFP

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