Cholera has already claimed over 200 lives in Sierra Leone with up to twelve thousand more infected and with numbers likely to rise. Help is urgently needed so lives can be saved. CARE International UK has received funding from the UK government’s new Rapid Response Facility which will allow CARE to reach the affected people faster and save lives.
The disease is mostly transmitted by contaminated water sources and foods, and is closely linked to inadequate sanitation. The lack of proper systems for drainage and waste disposal, coupled with heavy rains which cause flooding and contamination of water sources has left the population increasingly vulnerable to the spread of this water-borne disease. Untreated, it can kill within hours.
Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said: “The cholera epidemic in Sierra Leone is fast becoming a crisis, with millions potentially at risk. The UK is – for the first time – activating the Rapid Response Facility, its network of private sector and aid experts to make sure we get aid to where it is needed, fast.
“Not only will our response be rapid, it will be efficient. We will monitor closely to make sure every penny of British aid achieves results and supports those in dire need. Urgent action is required to halt the spread of disease and save lives – Britain is leading the way.”
Colin Rogers, CARE International UK’s Head of Emergencies, said: “With the rapid spread of this disease we need to be able to move quickly and thanks to the funds the UK government has given us we can do just that. These vital funds will allow us to save lives.”
To date, CARE has provided information and education via radio discussions and public service announcements and distributed cholera prevention kits, which include soap, oral rehydration sachets and water purification tablets. CARE is working with volunteers in communities across affected regions to help prevent further spread of the disease.