Casey Calamusa, 206.310.5476
Harare, Zimbabwe, October 26, 2009—Five people have died from cholera and at least 117 cases have been reported across Zimbabwe in the last month, raising concerns the epidemic that killed more than 4,000 people earlier in the year may be returning.
“We are yet to ascertain the severity of this outbreak but we have already started pre-positioning drugs and other non-food items to ensure that we do not have a repeat of last year,” said Ellen Tagwireyi, World Vision’s health and nutrition director in Zimbabwe.
The cause of the last outbreak, which began in August 2008 and lasted almost a year, was dilapidated and broken sanitation and water infrastructure, much of which is still in the same state as a year ago, World Vision is warning. Additionally, the coming rainy season is likely to facilitate the spread of the disease.
“Zimbabwe is a context where killers like cholera unnecessarily claim children's lives even though basic health provisions and clean water and sanitation systems have made the disease obsolete even in most poor countries around the world," said Sue Mbaya, World Vision’s advocacy director for Africa. "World Vision is launching a global campaign next month highlighting the need for urgent action to stop 8.8 million preventable child deaths each year.”
The Christian humanitarian organization has activated its national Rapid Response Team and is providing relief supplies such as buckets, soap, oral rehydration kits, and water purification tablets to 45,000 households in Beitbridge in Matebeleland South and 28,000 households in Chipinge in Manicaland.
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor --regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.