accessibility & help

Zimbabwe rainy season increasing cholera risk, says British Red Cross

13 January 2009
For further information please contact

Penny Sims
Telephone: 0044 (0)20 7877 7044, email:, out of hours: 07659 145 095

Stefano Gelmini
Telephone: 0044 (0)20 7877 7045, email:, out of hours: 07659 145 095

Thousands more people in Zimbabwe and the surrounding region could be at risk from cholera, the British Red Cross warned today (13 January 2009). With the onset of the rainy season, flooding could seriously exacerbate the rate of infection, increasing the risk of sewage contaminating water sources.

In Zimbabwe, according to figures from WHO (World Health Organisation), cholera has now claimed 1,937 lives, and the total number of cases is close to 40,000.
“The rainy season is now here and we know from experience that rains are an aggravating factor for cholera. Continued efforts are needed to make sure the disease is contained,” said Di Moody, British Red Cross programme support officer for Southern Africa.

The British Red Cross sanitation team are working with the Zimbabwean Red Cross and the Ministry of Health in the Midlands region of Zimbabwe to prevent and contain cholera. With 46 per cent deaths occurring en route to medical centres, the Red Cross have established vital mobile units able to travel direct to locations of cholera outbreaks, to rapidly contain and treat the condition and prevent the spread of infection.

The mobile teams, supported by the British Red Cross, specialise in sanitation and are equipped to meet the sanitation needs of up to 20,000 people, through the construction of latrines and promotion of hygiene. They are one of seven teams from around the world, which have been deployed to Zimbabwe by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), working in conjunction with the Zimbabwean Red Cross Society (ZRCS) who have been responding to the cholera outbreak since it began.

The British Red Cross has launched an appeal to help thousands of people in Zimbabwe and across Southern Africa affected by cholera and chronic food shortages.
To give to the British Red Cross Zimbabwe & Region Appeal visit or call 0845 054 7200. Postal donations can be sent to British Red Cross, UKO, 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL

It costs less then £1 a day to equip a family of five with the goods they need to give them clean water and protect them from cholera. One family hygiene kits costs only £30
and lasts for one month. With your money we can help protect thousands from the misery of cholera.


For more info, interviews or pictures contact Penny Sims or Stefano Gelmini on 020 7877 7044 or 020 7877 7045 or /

Heron Holloway, delegate from International Federation of the Red Cross, is in Zimbabwe and available via telephone for interview, please contact Penny Sims or Stefano Gelmini on 020 7877 7044 or 020 7877 7045 or /

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

The British Red Cross has a special role as an auxiliary to the British public authorities in the humanitarian field.  It co-operates with and assists the UK government in the promotion, dissemination and implementation of international humanitarian law.

In the event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters either overseas or here in the UK. For more information, visit