14 Dec 2009

Oxfam calls for greater support for cholera victims in PNG's East Sepik Province

4:45 am on 14 December 2009

The international aid agency, Oxfam, has called for greater support for the hundreds of people affected by a cholera outbreak in East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea.

Oxfam's Sepik program manager, Andrew Rankin, says local health authorities are now reporting over 335 cholera cases in the Province.

He says this is an increase of more than 50 cases over the last week, and includes a number of new cases in the provincial capital of Wewak.

Mr Rankin says people rely heavily on the Sepik river for drinking and washing water, for income from their fishing, and for preparing sago to eat.

He says water samples taken by the WHO have confirmed that cholera is present in various locations along the river.

He says it in important that these communities get immediate help to deal with the outbreak.