Scottish Government

Learn how the Scottish Government has supported our work responding to crises.

The Scottish Government has been a valued supporter of the British Red Cross in responding to humanitarian emergencies. In the past year alone they have helped fund our work in Ukraine, the conflict in Sudan, the floods in Libya, and most recently, in Zambia.

Cholera outbreak in Zambia

Scottish Government International Development Minister Christina McKelvie pledged £500,000 in February 2024 to help contain a deadly cholera outbreak in Zambia.

The funding came in response to an emergency appeal from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC) for funding to support measures including contact tracing, vaccination and the supply of safe drinking water.

By the end of January 2024, 16,500 confirmed cases and 613 deaths had been recorded as a result of the outbreak, with all 10 of Zambia’s provinces reporting cases. The IFRC reports this rapid escalation has put a strain on local health services and schools throughout the country have been closed in attempt to stop further spread of the disease.

Funds to prevent epidemic

Announcing the grant, International Development Minister Christina McKelvie said:

The next few weeks will be crucial to prevent this severe and rapidly growing cholera epidemic from escalating further. Particularly ahead of Zambia’s rainy season, as the majority of vulnerable communities have no access to clean water and sanitation facilities, which are essential to prevent the spread of cholera.

“This funding reflects the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to ensure Scotland fulfils its role as a good global citizen through international development and humanitarian work, as well as our longstanding partnership with Zambia.”

Rob Murray, Director for Scotland, British Red Cross, said: “Volunteers and staff from the Zambian Red Cross Society are leading the response to the cholera outbreak in the country, alongside the Zambia Ministry of Health, and this funding will help to carry out vital training for volunteers who will be at the forefront of the response in the affected communities.

“Speed is critical in dealing with an outbreak such as this therefore we are extremely grateful for the swift response and leadership the Scottish Government has shown in providing these funds."

Learn more about the outbreak

Visit the IFRC website to discover more about the cholera outbreak in Zambia.