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Canadian Auction Raises Funds to Fight Zimbabwean Cholera Epidemic


A silent sculpture auction organized by Zimbabwean emigrés in Canada has raised C$6,000 or about US$4,700 to help fight the cholera epidemic still claiming lives back home.

Organizer Derrick Hyslop of Vancouver, British Columbia, said the funds will support the work of the Canadian branch of Medecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

Though public health experts say the rate at which new cases of cholera appear seems to be slowing, the total of cases since late 2008 is now over 91,000 and fatalities from the water-borne disease have risen to 4,035, the World Health Organization said Monday.

Hyslop told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he and his business partner were touched by the plight of Zimbabwe's cholera victims.

Elsewhere, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee announced that the U.S. Agency for International Development has released another US$2.2 million in health assistance which includes US$1.7 million to bolster medical supply logistics in the country plus US$300,000 for measles vaccination and another US$200,000 for anti-malaria spraying.

McGee promised the United States would “continue to support life-saving assistance programs for the Zimbabwean people.” He said the cholera crisis is "just one terrible result of a much larger systemic failure of the health system that needs to be addressed."

A U.S. Embassy statement said this pledge brought total U.S. humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe to more than US$260 million since October 2007.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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