September 11, 2012
WaterAid responds to record levels of cholera in West Africa
WaterAid is working with the governments and other international
organizations in Mali, Niger and Sierra Leone to help the high number of
people affected by cholera.
A group of women and children from a nomadic community in Soucoucoutane, Niger.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF are warning that the
current cholera emergency in West Africa is set to get much worse as
rains and floods create the conditions for the disease to spread faster
Already this year a total of 55,289 cases of
cholera have been reported in 15 countries and 1,109 people have died.
The disease is spreading fast in the countries of the Mano River Basin
(Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), as well as along the Congo River,
(affecting people in both the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo), and in western Niger.
Cholera is caused by unsanitary conditions polluting the water.
Disasters such as floods and earthquakes often disrupt the water and
sanitation systems, thereby increasing the likelihood of water becoming
This is the worst outbreak since 1995 and the situation keeps getting worse.
- Apollos Nwafor, WaterAid Team Leader in Liberia and Sierra-Leone
Floods and cholera in Niger
The cholera outbreak in Niger has centered
mostly in Niamey, Soukoukoutan, Tilabery, affecting many of the areas
where WaterAid works.
The cholera outbreak has accompanied unprecedented floods in the
region. The devastating floods have destroyed more than 12,000 homes and
left 93,770 people homeless.
While the areas where we work have not been directly affected
by the floods, the heavy rains have made it difficult for our staff and
partners to reach the areas we do work in, and as a result, our community
work has been suspended.
Our team in Niger is collaborating with the government and other
international NGOs to deal with the situation. Our support includes
raising awareness on cholera, distributing Aquatabs to get clean water
to communities, and installing biosand filters at household levels.
Cholera in Sierra Leone reaches record levels
The cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone has reached a record level. The epidemic has
spread to ten out of the twelve districts and it is also in Freetown.
The areas we work in have been affected and WaterAid is part of a
team responding under the National Response Plan, together with UNICEF,
Save the Children, Oxfam, Concern, World Vision and Goal. In
collaboration with the government, the team aims to contain the spread
of the disease within a month.
Apollos Nwafor, Team Leader in Liberia and Sierra-Leone, said: "This
is the worst outbreak since 1995 and the situation keeps getting worse.
All partners in the WASH and health sector have been advised to channel
resources towards containing the outbreak as there are also cases of
Lasser and yellow fever, which is worsening the situation."
For further information or interviews, please contact: Susannah Gold, WaterAid, on + 1 917 207 5375 or email@example.com