26 September 2018 – In response to a severe outbreak of cholera that is believed to have infected over 6,400 people in Zimbabwe according to the World Health Organisation, the European Union is providing €90,000 in humanitarian funding to help control the deadly epidemic. The outbreak was declared on 6th September in the capital Harare and was followed by the proclamation of a state of emergency on 11th September. Five out of the country’s ten provinces have reported sporadic cases. Trends indicate that the number of cases is growing at an exponential rate, according to the Red Cross.
The EU funding will support the Zimbabwe Red Cross to carry out lifesaving actions through the early detection of cases, followed by an immediate response at the community level and appropriate care for all patients. The humanitarian aid will directly benefit 15,000 people who live in Budiriro, Glen View, Chitungwiza and Mbare, the four affected suburbs of Harare where the outbreak originated.
Eight oral rehydration points will be set up in these four affected areas for the treatment of cholera which causes profound loss of fluid in patients. 120 Red Cross volunteers, 20 supervisors and 60 community leaders will be trained on health and hygiene education. Door-to-door campaigns and mass media awareness will be conducted. Community volunteers will monitor the situation and refer cases. Soap, water purification tabs, buckets and jerry cans will be distributed, and 100 hand washing stations which will be set up at health centres, oral rehydration points and other public places.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This support comes after an initial allocation, on 10 September, of €8,500 from an ongoing EU-funded project implemented by the Finnish Red in support of the Zimbabwe Red Cross. These emergency funds helped the Red Cross to kick-start the mobilisation of volunteers for hygiene and health promotion.
The ultimate aim of EU humanitarian aid is to prevent further loss of life and help curb the ongoing outbreak which has already claimed 45 lives.
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
About the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.
For further information, please contact: [email protected]