The U.N. in Malawi has launched an urgent appeal for aid to deal with the impact of a record cholera outbreak that has so far killed nearly 1,450 people and infected 45,000.
Local health experts say if urgent action isn’t taken to scale up the response, the number of cases could double in the next few months.
The U.N. says the flash appeal seeks to raise $45.3 million to provide life-saving aid to thousands of people in Malawi devastated by the outbreak.
In a statement released Monday, the U.N. said the appeal aims to assist four million people in Malawi, including 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers who are at the highest risk in the outbreak.
The current outbreak started in March last year and has spread to all 29 districts of Malawi.
Rebecca Adda-Dontoh, the U.N. resident coordinator in Malawi, told reporters Monday that more assistance is needed to stop the outbreak.
“So much work has been done but a lot more needs to be done,” she said. “We have focused on health, we have focused on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). The two are very important but there are also other sectors like nutrition, protection and even logistics because we need to be able to move supplies from one point to the other.”
Adda-Dontoh said the needed assistance would complement what various donor partners have already contributed.
“The U.N. itself has mobilized already close to $10 million,” she said. “You heard the EU; you heard the U.K. here saying they had already contributed over 500,000 euros for the EU and also over 500,000 pounds for the U.K. Even the government of Malawi is on the ground and already contributed.”
Local media have reported that Malawi needs an additional $40 million for its national plan on cholera response.
Cases of cholera in Malawi have increased since the beginning of January, worsening the country’s largest outbreak in the past two decades.
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said last week, when he launched a national anti-cholera campaign, that the country’s health facilities were recording between 500 to 600 cholera cases every day.
The U.N. said that health experts have warned that Malawi could record between 64,000 and 100,000 more cases of cholera within the next three months unless urgent action is taken to scale up the response.
Source: Voice Of America