June 3, 2013
OTTAWA — Canada is providing life-saving assistance to combat a cholera outbreak which could affect more than 900,000 people in Uganda, as well as support to help meet the immediate needs of approximately 6,500 people affected by the flooding in western Uganda, announced the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation.
"Canada is a compassionate neighbour and our work in developing countries is an expression of our generosity," said Minister Fantino. "By providing immediate support, we are helping those in need cope with heavy rains as well as implement control measures of cholera in affected communities."
After heavy rains in early May 2013, the Nyamwamba River in Uganda burst its banks and flooded nine sub-counties in Kasese county in the western region of Uganda. The flooding has caused widespread destruction of houses, crops, and infrastructure, such as bridges, roads and power lines. The destruction of water supply systems has left the entire population dependent on rain water harvesting and streams, increasing the potential for water-borne diseases. Canada's support, in response to an appeal by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to those affected by the flooding in Kasese county will help to provide essential household items, mosquito nets, water treatment products, and emergency shelter materials.
On April 18, 2013, the Ugandan Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of cholera in the districts of Hoima, Nebbi, and Buliisa in western Uganda. Since the start of the year, there have been over 200 reported cases of cholera and 7 deaths in these three districts. A recent assessment conducted by government authorities and the Ugandan Red Cross Society estimated that over 200,000 people in the affected areas are at high risk of cholera infection, while the wider population in the districts could also come into contact with the disease.
With Canada's assistance, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is supporting the Ugandan Red Cross Society to promote health and hygiene practices and increase awareness about cholera and its transmission. Water containers and purification tablets will also be provided to improve access to potable water, and soap will be distributed to enhance hand-washing practices and thereby reduce cholera transmission.
Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to humanitarian work, such as this support for the people of Uganda. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and the ability to respond to humanitarian crises.
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For more information, media should contact:
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation