Red Cross describes cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe as one of the 10 unreported disasters of 2023


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The International Federation of the Red Cross has described the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe as one of the “ten deadly emergencies” of 2023 that did not get much world media attention.

“These ten deadly emergencies from 2023 didn’t get much love from global media but they were just as heart-breaking and life-changing to the people affected as the big crises that make headlines,” it said.

“Maybe it’s because the disaster happened in a remote, rural area, far from media hubs. Maybe it’s ‘too small’ to warrant a global reaction. Whatever the reason, some emergencies don’t get as much attention as others. For the people living through these crises, however, they are just as real, heartbreaking and life-changing as the big catastrophes that go viral or that benefit from the ‘CNN effect’,” the IFRC said..

The Zimbabwe government said that 10 633 cases of cholera had been reported as of 6 December but 10 203 people had recovered. More than 200 people have died since the outbreak in February.

In its report the IFRC said: “Like many other relatively localised or regional epidemics, the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe in 2023 has received little international attention.  

“It started in February 2023 and to date, suspected and confirmed cases have been reported in 41 districts in all the country’s 10 provinces. 

“The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal to support the work of the Zimbabwe Red Cross, but even before that, IFRC-DREF dispersed CHF 500 000 (about US$580 000) to support 141 257 people with health care and water, sanitation and hygiene support in key impacted areas. 

“The goal is to prevent and control the spread of Cholera, interrupt the chain of transmission, facilitate the improvement of case management and improve basic sanitation, hygiene practices and access to safe drinking water.”

The Zimbabwe government says the outbreak is under control.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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