WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Humanitarian groups are increasing their efforts to curb a recent outbreak of cholera in Mali, an area already devastated by drought, fighting, and food shortages.
The onset of the rainy season and the existing humanitarian crisis in northern Mali has exacerbated the situation. As part of the emergency response, a UPS chartered plane headed to Bamako, Mali, today from Frankfurt, Germany. The flight was loaded with 156,394 pounds of relief supplies, including:
- AmeriCares' water purification supplies will provide 25,000 people with clean water, and emergency medical aid that will help treat 15,000 people in Mali.
- UNICEF's water purification kits will serve 2,640 families, while oral rehydration salts will help 2 million people. Medical kits will also cover the needs of 10,000 people for a month.
- Shelterbox's 497 tents will protect 497 families in Niger.
- High energy biscuits will feed 39,000 malnourished children for a month in CARE's program in Mali.
"We must do everything we can to try to curb the further spread of cholera in northern Mali and this latest shipment will help reach that goal," said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs. "InterAction members are grateful for the support given to us by partners such as UPS to respond to this crisis," he added.
"When a humanitarian crisis occurs, logistics immediately becomes key to saving lives. This is the third movement of critical relief supplies to the Sahel region of Africa that UPS has been involved in since April as there's a lot of need," said Dan Brutto, president of UPS International. "UPS's role has been to utilize our capabilities to efficiently deliver our NGO partners' supplies by consolidating them and we're honored to be able to help provide our expertise."
The shipment was coordinated by UPS, the global logistics company, in support of InterAction members who are responding to local needs in the Sahel. The effort is part of UPS's Humanitarian Relief Program which provides logistical help to NGOs and relief agencies seeking to reach those who need help the most. UPS first offered logistics help to InterAction members working in the Sahel back in April, 2012.
"The food crisis in the Sahel is dire, and made more so because there hasn't been the outpouring of support we've seen in the past to address the critical needs of millions," says Dr. Helene D. Gayle, CARE's president and CEO. "With this commitment from UPS, we can help thousands in need of basic nutrition."
With the rainy season, the risk of water-borne illnesses such as cholera spike, particularly in areas where sanitation is often poor and water is difficult to extract from semi-arid landscapes. As of August 14, OCHA reported 140 recorded cases of cholera in Mali with 11 deaths. Water purification kits such as the ones transported by UPS help mitigate these risks, especially for children under five who are among the most vulnerable groups.
"Malnutrition weakens immune systems and makes children and adults more susceptible to disease, and unclean water increases the risk of contracting deadly diarrheal diseases," said AmeriCares Medical Director Dr. Frank Bia. "Our medicines and supplies will potentially save thousands of lives."
More than 18.7 million people lack access to sufficient food and more than 1 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of dying from malnutrition in the Sahel region.
"ShelterBox focuses on relief in the form of emergency shelter and other essential equipment that bring shelter, warmth and dignity to families who are displaced from their homes, including in the Sahel region," said Emily Sperling, president of Shelterbox. "We're grateful for the opportunity to work with UPS and other organizations on this effort and to do our part."
InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit www.interaction.org