HARARE, ZIMBABWE (December 11, 2008) – CARE International is implementing emergency measures to prevent the spread of cholera during food distributions in Zimbabwe, where an epidemic has killed more than 746 people and infected nearly 16,000.
Almost half the population, which is struggling under the weight of runaway inflation and crippling food shortages, will be dependent on food aid by January 2009. But mass food distributions, which involve large gatherings of people, is a perfect conduit for the spread of cholera if appropriate prevention measures aren’t taken.
“More than five million people in the country need food aid right now,” said Fridah Kalumba, CARE’s Assistant Country Director in Zimbabwe. “But with the cholera outbreak, we need to ensure people are protected during distributions, so the disease doesn’t spread further.”
CARE is coordinating with local health authorities and other aid agencies working to implement appropriate preventive measures and emergency responses. Immediately after the epidemic hit, CARE began distributing educational flyers and delivering basic hygiene training about cholera prevention to communities during food distributions and other project activities.
CARE, which is one of the World Food Program’s largest partners in Zimbabwe, is distributing food to nearly 900,000 people per month. As part of the overall cholera response, CARE, in partnership with WFP, is providing food supplies for health care workers and cholera treatment centres.
As the lack of clean water is contributing to the spread of the disease, CARE also plans to expand our existing programs ensuring long-term supply of clean water to communities through the installation or repair of wells and boreholes, sand abstraction from river beds, and dam construction.
About CARE: CARE is one of the world’s largest independent aid organizations providing emergency relief and development projects in nearly 70 countries around the world. CARE has been working in Zimbabwe since 1992, implementing programs in small economic development, agriculture and natural resource management, water and sanitation, health and emergency response.
Melanie Brooks, Media and Communications Coordinator (Geneva)
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