U.N. agencies are appealing for $20 million to contain an outbreak of cholera in Sudan.
Since the cholera outbreak was declared on Sept. 8 in Blue Nile and Sennar states, Sudan's Ministry of Health reports more than 230 people have become ill and eight have died.
U.N. agencies warn that more than 13,000 people could become infected in the next six months if cholera spreads to six other high-risk states.
The spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, says heavy flooding has been ongoing since July and this is heightening the risk, as cholera is a water-borne disease.
"Over half of the $20 million is actually expected to go to water, sanitation and hygiene interventions," Laerke said. "So, it is a comprehensive response. It is urgent. It is a three-month timeline. And, of course, the funding is required urgently."
Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe diarrhea. It can kill within hours if not treated quickly. In most cases, people can be cured with oral rehydration salts; severely dehydrated people require intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
Laerke says aid agencies are gearing up to support and manage up to 13,000 cholera cases, and provide health services for one million people, including refugees in camps.
"Under the new plan, some 2.5 million people will benefit from water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and hundreds of thousands of severely malnourished children, mothers and caregivers will get access to infant and child feeding counseling," he said.
Later this month, the World Health Organization, U.N. Children's Fund and partners will roll out an oral cholera vaccination campaign for 1.6 million people in high-risk communities in Blue Nile and Sennar states.
Everyone above one year of age will be vaccinated. Four weeks later, the same people will receive a second dose of the vaccine.