LUANDA, 15 April 2005 – The UN expresses deep sorrow at the deaths of the young social mobilisation volunteers hit by a lightning yesterday in the province of Uige while providing much needed information and advice on the Marburg virus to the population at risk.
“The entire humanitarian community are shocked by the loss,” said Pierre François Pirlot, UN Resident Coordinator in Angola. “The volunteers of the Red Cross and the Committee of Health Aid were brave young people committed to the dire effort of controlling the spread of an epidemic. These deaths are a tragedy.”
The young volunteers, killed by a lightning, were part of a social mobilization team in charge of distributing leaflets about the hemorrhagic fever in Uige. The team was visiting a school at the bairro Cemiterio, a neighbourhood in the outskirts of the city, to ensure that the youngest in Uige are aware of the deadly epidemic.
“Together with other volunteer groups in the country such as CORE and the Rotary, the Red Cross is part of a key network of activists that in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF throughout the past years, has made possible the implementation of major polio and measles vaccination campaigns,” said Pirlot.
In support of the Ministry of Health, the UN is providing assistance to fight the Marburg epidemic in Angola. Apart from the epidemiological surveillance and case management, it has launched a massive social mobilisation campaign aimed at getting communities involved in spreading the word about the disease and ensuring that the population has the vital information needed to avoid becoming infected.
For more information please contact:
Christophe Illemassene, TCU Information Officer 912 500 370
Lorinda Santos, UNDP Information Officer
Macarena Aguilar, UNICEF Communications Officer - 912 219 524