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UNICEF appeals for US$17.5 million for emergency response in Zimbabwe

HARARE, 12 December 2009 – UNICEF has appealed for US$17.5 million immediate funding to boost its 120-day emergency response as Zimbabwe battles with a raging cholera outbreak and the effects of collapsing social services.

The funds raised under this appeal will enable the UN children’s fund to scale up its cholera response, provide incentives for teachers to return to work, procure essential medicines for hospitals and importantly, expand its role in the provision of vital supplies and logistics functions necessary to get the social services back on track.

“The situation in Zimbabwe is dire and our response has to match the severity,” said UNICEF Acting Representative Roeland Monasch, “Assistance needs to be taken to scale and it has to happen urgently. For this to happen we need resources. The deepening crisis in Zimbabwe comes amidst growing food insecurity, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and poses the worst threat to child survival and development in 20 years”.

The service delivery crisis, spurred on by a human resources disaster in the education and health sectors has worsened conditions for women and children in the last two months across Zimbabwe. Consequently, school attendance has dropped to a mere 20 percent, major hospitals have closed and poor management of cholera cases has seen a high fatality rate of 4.8%, way above the 1% international threshold.

The UNICEF appeal outlines key emergency interventions in water, sanitation, health and education areas including:
• Procurement of water treatment chemicals for all urban  areas for the next four months
• Provision of medicines and equipment to Cholera Treatment Centres.
• Provision of essential medicines (including vaccines) for 1,780 health facilities in 62 districts
• Expansion of community management of acute malnutrition

Already UNICEF has been responding to the emergency by providing IV fluids, Drips, Tents and Cholera beds for Cholera Treatment Centres.  UNICEF is also trucking 470,000 litres of water per day, drilling boreholes, and distributing water purification to over 3.5 million people in Zimbabwe.

UNICEF has brought in a team of 12 emergency specialists to work in the sectors of water, sanitation, health, education, child protection and nutrition. UNICEF has also brought in logisticians and borehole drilling experts to intensify relief efforts.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Tsitsi Singizi: UNICEF Zimbabwe, Tel: 263-91 2 943 915, tsingizi@unicef.org
Veronique Taveau: UNICEF Geneva, Tel: 41 22 909 5716, vtaveau@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick : UNICEF New York, Tel : 1 212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org


 

 

 

Audio

UNICEF Zimbabwe Communications Officer Tsitsi Singizi discusses the need for a systemic solution to the country's cholera outbreak.
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