WaterAid is working with the governments and other international organisations in Niger and Sierra Leone to help the high number of people affected by cholera.
Cholera is caused by unsanitary conditions polluting the water. Disasters such as floods and earthquakes often disrupt the water and sanitation systems, thereby increasing the likelihood of water becoming contaminated.
So far, more than 3,000 cases of cholera have been reported in Niger, with 69 people dying from the disease. The cholera outbreak has centred mostly in Niamey, Soukoukoutan, Tilabery, affecting many of the areas where we work.
The cholera outbreak has accompanied unprecedented floods in the region. The devastating floods have destroyed more than 12,000 homes and left 93,770 people homeless.
While the areas where WaterAid works have not been directly affected by the floods, the heavy rains have made it difficult for our staff and partners to reach the areas we do work in, and as a result, or community work has been suspended.
Our team in Niger is collaborating with the Government and other international NGOs to deal with the situation. Our support includes raising awareness on cholera, distributing Aquatabs to get clean water to communities, and installing biosand filters at household levels.
The cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone has reached a record level, with the death toll at more than 180 and still climbing. The epidemic has spread to ten out of the twelve districts and it is also in Freetown.
The areas we work in have been affected and WaterAid is part of a team responding under the National Response Plan, together with UNICEF, Save the Children, Oxfam, Concern, World Vision and Goal. In collaboration with the Government, the team aims to contain the spread of the disease within a month.
Apollos Nwafor, Team Leader in Liberia and Sierra-Leone, said: “This is the worst outbreak since 1995 and the situation keeps getting worse. All partners in the WASH and health sector have been advised to channel resources towards containing the outbreak as there are also cases of Lasser and yellow fever, which is worsening the situation.”