Zimbabwe: UN agencies assist in fight against cholera outbreak

This tent is part of a UNICEF cholera treatment and control centre

16 September 2008 – United Nations agencies are working with local authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe to combat a deadly outbreak of cholera on the outskirts of the national capital, Harare.

So far 11 people have died and 80 others have been infected in the outbreak, which was first reported earlier this month, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters.

She said a lack of clean water for domestic use has helped to fuel the spread of cholera. In the affected area, sewer line blockages are common, resulting in frequent incidents of sewage flowing along the streets in open drains.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have established two cholera treatment clinics, which are now mainly managed by the NGO known as Médecins Sans Frontières.

Temporary measures have also been introduced to tackle water shortages in the hard-hit areas. Some 30,000 litres of drinking water will be delivered by truck each day for the duration of the outbreak, Ms. Okabe added.

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