Zimbabwe: Irish Red Cross doubles funds to curb cholera deaths

The Irish Red Cross today announced that it would more than double the amount of emergency cash it is sending in a bid to halt the spread of cholera in Zimbabwe."We know that at some point in the past three weeks Zimbabwe passed a grim milestone. On one day in January Zimbabwe registered cholera case number 60,001. A week before Christmas 60,000 was considered the worst case scenario," stated the Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross, John Roycroft in announcing the new cash aid.

The Irish Red Cross will send €25,000 to help respond to the growing disaster - a double-increase on the €10,000 it sent before Christmas.

More than 3,000 people have died from cholera which is mainly contracted and spread from dirty water. Although easily treatable and preventable, Cholera can spread quickly if it is not tackled systematically. To date, less than half (45%) of the €6.6million sought by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to deal with the crisis has been advanced by the international community. John Roycroft added "This lack of response is costing the lives of men, women and children. The Irish Red Cross is extremely concerned that without adequate funding the number of cholera cases could go as high as 100,000 and the death toll climb to 4,000."

Donations can be made online at www.redcross.ie or by calling 1850 50 70 70.

Notes for Editor

The Irish Red Cross can arrange interviews with Mr. John Roycroft, Secretary General, Irish Red Cross and Mr. Noel Wardick, Head of the International Department, Irish Red Cross

Contact: Aoife MacEoin. 087 - 998 3788. Irish Red Cross National Communications Officer.

Additional Information

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent has spent over a quarter of a million Euro (€269,456) on dealing with this cholera crisis. The funds have been used to provide cholera kits and water purification equipment which are being distributed to communities in affected areas and to promote good hygiene through the network of locally-based members of the Zimbabwe Red Cross.

Activities include:

As of 30 January, a total of 650,000 water purifying sachets were distributed (producing indirectly 13 million litres of safe water.

Distribution of 40,000 jerry cans and buckets for storage and transport of water at household level.

Provision of hygiene promotion activities to 1,500,000 people

Cholera is caused by the bacteria vibrio cholerae. People contract cholera through drinking water or eating food that is contaminated with the bacteria, or through contact with flies.

Contact: Aoife MacEoin. 087 - 998 3788. National Communications Officer. Irish Red Cross.