India on Tuesday sent humanitarian aid to Zambia which is currently reeling under a cholera outbreak.
The aid, weighing approximately 3.5 tonnes, was sent via a commercial cargo aircraft and contains medicines, chlorine tablets, water purification supplies and ORS sachets.
Apart from India, the European Union has decided to provide humanitarian assistance worth €1 million to support the country as it fights cholera.
The EU funding is expected to support UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in their efforts to mitigate health, water, hygiene and sanitation crises in the region.
Cholera outbreak in Zambia
As of January 31, 16,526 cholera cases reported were in the country while over 600 people have lost their lives.
The Zambian government is currently taking measures to stop the spread of the water-borne disease by embarking on a mass vaccination program as well as providing 2.4 million liters of clean water a day to communities that have been worst affected.
Cholera is an acute diarrhea infection caused by bacteria that is typically spread via contaminated food or water. The disease is strongly linked to poverty and inadequate access to clean water.
The African country was struck by the outbreak in October 2023 and the Health Ministry says that cholera has been detected in nearly half of the country’s districts.
Zambian president urges people to move
Meanwhile, President Hakainde Hichilema has urged people living in densely populated towns and cities to move to villages as their current living conditions are the ideal breeding ground for the bacteria.
“There is so much land in the villages, there is clean water. We can build nice homes in the villages, which are not polluted,” Hichilema said.
There have been recent cholera outbreaks in other southern African nations including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. More than 200,000 cases and over 3,000 deaths have been reported in southern Africa since the start of 2023, UNICEF said.
With inputs from agencies