According to the BBC, Zimbabwe’s government has asked the international community for urgent help in tackling its cholera outbreak. The ongoing cholera outbreak has claimed over 480 lives and led to more than 11,700 recorded cases since August.
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by ingesting contaminated food or water. In its most severe forms, cholera is one of the most rapidly fatal illnesses known with death following within 18 hours to several days, unless oral rehydration therapy is provided.
UNICEF has announced a 120-day plan to help Zimbabwe deal with this emerging humanitarian crisis as Zimbabwe deals with the cholera outbreak, the closure of hospitals and the collapse of the education sector.
As a result of these crises, Zimbabwe’s economy is now largely shattered and severe food shortages are commonplace.
“The UN agency will immunize up to 1.5 million children, procure essential medicines for 70 per cent of the national population, provide clean water and sanitation to many communities, distribute ready-to-use nutritional foods at therapeutic feeding centres and unveil a national awareness campaign on cholera prevention.”
UNICEF also plans to provide aid to Zimbabwe’s estimated 250,000 orphans–the country is believed to have the highest orphan percentage in the world, at one in every four children.