|3 January 2001
South Africa calls on WHO to help fight cholera
South Africa has asked the
World Health Organisation (WHO) for international aid to contain the cholera
epidemic which has gripped rural parts of northern and southern KwaZulu-Natal
since August. In what has developed into the most serious cholera epidemic yet
experienced in South Africa the water-borne disease has claimed 53 lives and
infected 12 715 people already.
The cholera outbreak responsible for 52
deaths in KwaZulu-Natal in only four months is expected to worsen as the
government waits for a R500-m European Union grant to kick in in April. This
has raised fears that as many as 400 000 people could be infected by the
epidemic over the next three months before a permanent solution, such as
connecting rural communities to clean water, can be implemented.
than R500m was allocated to KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Province
by the EU last year with the aim of connecting the provinces rural
communities to clean running water and proper sanitation, said Water Affairs
spokesman Thamsanqa Mchunu. The provinces are said to have a huge backlog in
terms of providing clean water.