December 3 2008
Save the Children New Zealand has announced that it will be sending NZD $60,000 to support the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
Following on from the disputed election run-offs between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe has been in a worsening state of decline.
10 million people, out of a population of 13 million live below the poverty line. Up to 5.1 million people will be in need of food aid to survive by the end of the year. One in 10 children in Zimbabwe die before the age of five, although with rocketing rates of malnutrition and disease, the child mortality rate will also rise.
A deadly outbreak of anthrax is threatening to wipe out at least 60,000 livestock in Zimbabwe’s northern Zambezi Valley. 32 cases of human anthrax have been reported in the Binga district. This figure is expected to rise.
On top of the anthrax outbreak comes reports of increasing cholera infections which have already killed hundreds of people. Zimbabwe is also in the midst of an economic crisis due to hyperinflation. On 14 November 2008 the Cato Institute released a document estimating that Zimbabwe’s monthly inflation rate to be 79.6 billion percent. This is equivalent to prices doubling every 24 hours.
Save the Children launched a global appeal on 1 December 2008 to raise money for the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. With increased resources, Save the Children’s emergency team will be responding to the anthrax and cholera outbreaks by helping to vaccinate cows from anthrax, training health workers, providing food so that safe treatment camps can be set up, and educating communities how to avoid infection.
As well as setting up food programmes the aid organisation is also helping families prepare for the future by distributing seeds, small livestock and helping to set up vegetable gardens.
Philip Abraham, Acting Executive Director for Save the Children New Zealand says: “The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has reached unprecedented proportions which is why Save the Children has launched a global appeal for donations. We have been working in Zimbabwe for 25 years and have expertise in operating effective programmes within the country. We know we can save lives; we just need the resources to do it”.
To make a donation to support Save the Children’s work in Zimbabwe please: Visit www.savethechildren.org.nz or call our donation line 0800 167 168
Zimbabwe has reached unprecedented proportions.
A deadly outbreak of anthrax has been reported in the north of Zimbabwe, with three people and more than 160 cattle already dead.
British charity Save the Children says that, coming on top of the ongoing cholera epidemic and the desperate food shortage, the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has reached unprecedented proportions.
“Many families in the Zambezi valley are so hungry that they are taking meat from the carcasses of their dead animals, even if they know it’s diseased, and are feeding it to their children,” said Save the Children’s country director, Rachel Pounds. “If the animal has been poisoned by anthrax, those children could die.”
A quarantine zone has been declared in the affected areas of Matebeleland North. But traders have been seen taking potentially infected carcasses out of the restricted zones to trade in the Victoria Falls region. This risks the disease spreading across Zimbabwe and into Zambia.
Zimbabwe has had problems with Anthrax in the past, having experienced the worst-ever recorded outbreak of the disease in 1979/80, at the time of its civil war. More than 10,000 human cases were recorded and 182 human deaths. Some have suggested, but not proved, that biological warfare was involved.
Little anthrax vaccination has taken place in Zimbabwe during the past five years and the strain now found in the Zambezi valley has been identified as particularly virulent.
Anthrax can kill when infected meat is touched or eaten, or when infected spores are inhaled.
Save the Children has launched a big appeal for funds, which will be used to help vaccinate cattle and educate people about the dangers of anthrax. In the UK For more information and to donate, click here