$3.1M UK aid against cholera in Sierra Leone

The U.K. Department for International Development has taken heed of Sierra Leone’s appeal to the international community to help stem the cholera outbreak in the African nation.

DfID has made 2 million pounds ($3.1 million) available through its rapid response facility, which enables the department to commit funding for aid organizations and private businesses in case of a humanitarian disaster or emergency. This is the first time the department activated the facility since its launch in March.

Only prequalified partners, however, can receive funding under the facility. Organizations that wish to apply may do so in October, when DfID launches an annual process for prequalification.

Save the Children, the International Rescue CommitteeOxfamConcernCare International and the British Red Cross have been mobilized for the response. DfID, meanwhile, is working “closely” with its private sector partners, which include Standard Chartered Bank, Pump International and Toughstuff. DfID expects its private sector partners to provide the majority of relief supplies needed by the concerned aid organizations, according to a press release.

DfID also plans to ship anti-cholera drugs and water purification kits as part of the response. It will be sending a humanitarian expert to Sierra Leone to help in coordination activities as well.

“The cholera epidemic in Sierra Leone is fast becoming a crisis, with millions potentially at risk,” Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said in a press release. “Urgent action is required to halt the spread of disease and save lives.”

At least 200 people, according to Save the Children, have already died from cholera in Sierra Leone. The outbreak was declared a national emergency Aug. 16.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.