RAIN COULD WORSEN ZIMBABWE CHOLERA EPIDEMIC


Seasonal rains could worsen a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe that has already killed more than 1,600 people, a senior international Red Cross official said on Friday. The outbreak has heightened the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are deadlocked over a power-sharing deal and the veteran leader is resisting Western calls to step down.

rainsThe World Health Organisation said this week that cholera had killed 1,608 people of 30,365 reported cases and the infection rate showed no signs of slowing. The disease has spread because of the collapse of health and sanitation systems.

Francoise Le Goff, head of southern African operations of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ICRC), said the cholera risk was growing now Zimbabwe was entering the rainy season.

“We are just preparing for the worst,” said Le Goff, who had just returned from a trip to Zimbabwe, adding that if the rains continue, the epidemic could last until March or April. “The worst could be heavy rains causing not only this cholera to spread, but floods,” said Le Goff.

“It means that the water level will cover the fields, that the crops are destroyed, that people cannot travel or we cannot have access to the area. “The cholera crisis could multiply to 60,000 cases and over 3,000 dead in the next three months, said Le Goff, citing WHO estimates.

SOURCED FROM  REUTERS

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