UN Report from Zimbabwe dated 20 February:

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ZIMBABWE'S CHOLERA CRISIS WORSENS AS NUMBER OF DEAD, INFECTED CLIMBS UN

The mounting death toll from Zimbabwe's devastating cholera epidemic has reached almost 3,800, with more than 80,000 people infected, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

Some 3,759 people have now died from cholera since the outbreak first hit the besieged southern African country in August last year, with all 10 of Zimbabwes provinces having been affected by the water-borne disease, which has spilled over to neighbouring countries.

WHO noted that South Africa, which has a relatively strong health care system, has been able to limit the number of fatalities to below one per cent of people infected by the deadly disease, compared to four per cent in Zimbabwe last December and between one and two per cent in recent weeks.

A high number of cholera cases have also been reported in Malawi , Mozambique and Zambia , all countries where the disease is endemic.

There are 365 cholera treatment centres operating in Zimbabwe and WHO has set up a Cholera Command and Control Centre in the capital, Harare, with its partner agencies to provide technical support in the areas of epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, case management, social mobilization, logistics, and infection control and water sanitation in treatment centres.

WHO warned that containing the rate of infection remains a significant challenge given the country's dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure and a weak health system.

Its priorities now include decentralizing the emergency response, particularly to areas with no active non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and strengthening social mobilization within communities to improve access to health services and earlier treatment. The agency will also focus on resource mobilization and greater involvement of partners in the field.

ZIMBABWE - Reports from WATER-SURVIVAL BOX, AQUABOX and LIFESTRAW:

LifeStraw report: Within the last week we have sent 500 Lifestraws to Zimbabwe , which together will produce up to 350,000 litres of safe water. We are at present organizing despatch of over 1,000 Lifestraw products. These will be distributed through 30 depots within Zimbabwe. These will together produce700,000 litres of safe water. The total therefore is over 1,000,000 litres of safe water.

It is hoped that this latest delivery will be the first of these larger consignments. The individuals and couples who are still taking the Lifestraw products express the desire to continue to do so. We have a good stock of the Lifestraw Personal Models, but still await the delivery of 3000 Family models.

We have the potential, when this final delivery arrives, in the best case scenario, of providing 56,300,000 litres of safe water. This figure is correct.As you know the Lifestraw requires no power to work, has no moving parts, and issimplicity itself to use.  We require money to replace our stock and to pay the airfreight and handling costs.  

Water-Survival Box have reported: Our situation remains the same as I last reported, although we have received a few cheques totalling 3,500 in the past month. However, as a consignment of 100 boxes costs 15,000 we must wait for many more donations before we can order in new box contents, await deliveries, and then recommence the packing process. The irony is that the volunteer packing system can produce 100 boxes in a couple of days.

Two recent consignments through Oxfam to Zimbabwe and Gaza , has virtually exhausted our stocks of Standard WSBs.We are, of course, very grateful for the donations received to date and hope your further appeal may produce many more.

AQUABOX report: We have sent 120 Aqua30's (@ 250 each,and 80 Standards (@ 80 each (Cost to us of 35,000 plus air freight; over 40,000).Thissupport went to Nyadire and Mutambara areas (100 miles NE Harare ).

We have not seen any increase in the basic level of donations over the lastcouple of months, so thisis probably as far as we will go, unless requested to do so by our supporters, through increased levels ofsupport. It is our only measure of what our supporters want us to do.

Our next shipment of mainly Standard Aquaboxes is likely to be Sri Lanka.

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