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U.K. Launches Emergency Response To Fight Cholera Outbreak In Sierra Leone

“The U.K. government has activated a £2 million [$3.16 million] emergency plan to help tackle a cholera epidemic sweeping through Sierra Leone,” the Press Association reports, adding, “The Department for International Development (DfID) says it is using a network that includes private businesses and specialist aid organizations to deliver emergency medical, water and sanitation assistance to affected people in the west African state” (8/25). “It is the first time [DfID] has activated its Rapid Response Facility,” the Guardian notes, adding, “The network was established in March and allows the U.K. government ‘to commit to rapid humanitarian funding’ within 72 hours in response to disasters and rapidly escalating humanitarian emergencies,” (Adetunji, 8/25).

“Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, Concern, Care International and the British Red Cross have been mobilized as part of the emergency response,” the Huffington Post notes (8/25). “Not only will our response be rapid, it will be efficient. We will monitor closely to make sure every penny of British aid achieves results and supports those in dire need,” DfID Secretary Andrew Mitchell said, according to BBC News (8/25). “At least 224 people have died in the worst cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone’s recent history with health officials warning that the crisis has not peaked,” the Financial Times writes, adding, “Nearly 12,500 people in Sierra Leone have contracted the disease this year, exceeding the worst previous outbreak in 1994” (Rice, 8/26).