South Africa + 1 more

British Red Cross launch appeal to tackle cholera in Zimbabwe and across Southern Africa

The British Red Cross has launched an appeal to help thousands of people in Zimbabwe and across Southern Africa affected by cholera and chronic food shortages.

In Zimbabwe, according to UN figures, cholera has claimed almost 800 lives and affected 16,000 people. In Angola almost 10,000 people have been affected by the disease and 229 people killed, Mozambique has registered more than 8,000 cases and 93 deaths while South Africa has seen almost 400 cases and five deaths.

"The rainy season is coming and we know from experience that rains are an aggravating factor for cholera. Continued efforts are needed to make sure the disease is not allowed to run out of control," said Di Moody, British Red Cross programme support officer for Southern Africa.

"This means providing immediate aid for those currently affected and widespread hygiene education to prevent new cases from breaking out. People in Zimbabwe and across the region are still facing a very real risk and it is vital that this risk is addressed as quickly as possible."

To give to the British Red Cross Zimbabwe & Region Appeal visit www.redcross.org.uk/zimbabweregion or call 0845 054 7200. Postal donations can be sent to British Red Cross, UKO, 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL

The British Red Cross appeal will be used to supply emergency relief through community based health, water, sanitation and hygiene projects, delivering aid and education to those most in need across the region.

The Red Cross has been on the ground in Zimbabwe since the beginning of the cholera epidemic, focusing largely on public education. Cholera is a treatable and curable disease, but people need to know the simple steps they can take to minimise or even eliminate risk of the disease.

In the last two weeks, Red Cross volunteers have reached more than 11,000 people in seven provinces with health and hygiene messages. Funds have also been used to provide cholera kits and water purification equipment, which are being distributed to affected communities.

ENDS

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

The British Red Cross has a special role as an auxiliary to the British public authorities in the humanitarian field. It co-operates with and assists the UK government in the promotion, dissemination and implementation of international humanitarian law.

In the event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters either overseas or here in the UK. For more information, visit redcross.org.uk

For further information please contact
Mark South
Telephone: 0044 (0)20 7877 7042, email: MSouth@redcross.org.uk, out of hours 07659 145 095