27 January 2012The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) received $9.1 million today from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to fight off cholera, which has affected more than 22,000 people and killed 500 over the past year in the central African country. “Despite all our previous efforts, we have been one step behind the disease. This new funding will allow us to reinforce the entire response chain,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator in DRC Fidele Sarassoro. In a news release, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that there has been a spike in cases in recent weeks, with the majority of them occurring in eastern provinces where cholera is endemic. OCHA underlined that in addition to the actual caseload, there are thousands of collateral victims as the disease is hampering agricultural and commercial activities, school attendance, family well-being and the livelihood of households that are already among the world’s poorest.The UN and other humanitarian agencies have been working with the Congolese Government for over a year to combat the disease, and the response has included establishing cholera treatment centres, providing water chlorination points and refurbishing water points, conducting awareness campaigns using the media, training of medical staff, and disinfecting boats. However, OCHA stressed that in spite of this multi-pronged response strategy, efforts to curtail the disease have yet to be successful. “The UN and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] expect the CERF funding to boost the response to the disease that is compounding an already grave humanitarian situation for millions of Congolese,” OCHA said.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will receive $4.4 million and $4.7 million, respectively, and will work with a number of international and national NGOs as well as Congolese authorities to maximize the impact of their efforts.Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacterium known as vibrio cholerae. The disease has a short incubation period and produces a toxin that causes continuous watery diarrhoea, a condition that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not administered promptly. Vomiting also occurs in most patients.CERF was created in 2005 to pre-position funding to respond in a timely fashion to humanitarian crises. Last year, it allocated $4 million to fight cholera in the provinces along the Congo River.
Sarah was an energetic character, full of life and joy. She loved the hospice and loved working with the staff and volunteersRachel Backshall, director of income generation and marketing at St Elizabeth Hospice “Sarah was a well-loved member of the team and our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to her family and friends.”Sarah was an energetic character, full of life and joy. She loved the hospice and loved working with the staff and volunteers.”She had been with the hospice for four years and made a huge difference during that time. She was imaginative and creative and brought a real sense of fun to the shop.”She will be sadly missed by us all.” Police scene currently in place at a house in #Stowmarket following the deaths of two people – https://t.co/WSCbUSrPHx— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) February 26, 2017 Mr Pitkin ran a carpentry business from the family home while Sarah worked in a nearby charity shop.A white Vauxhall van was parked outside the property, marked with as belonging to Richard Pitkin & Son Carpenters and Decorators.The same company name is printed on an extension to the large brick semi-detached property, which has pretty flower beds at the front.Vases of flowers could also be seen in each of the 11 large cream painted windows which front on to the street. The couple had turned part of their home into a tea room after moving in, but locals say they closed the business down around two years ago.On Monday morning, there was very little police presence outside the house, except for a PCSO who could be seen sitting in an unmarked car.Further down the street are a number of small businesses including a print shop and several hairdressers which line the narrow road which leads into the town centre. A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “The deaths are currently being treated as unexplained and a police investigation into the circumstances is under way.”Rachel Backshall, director of income generation and marketing at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “We are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Sarah Pitkin, who was the assistant shop manager in our Stowmarket shop. Detectives are investigating the “unexplained deaths” of a carpenter and his wife after their bodies were discovered at their property.The couple, who have been named locally as Richard Pitkin, 65, and his 58-year-old wife, Sarah, were found in a house in Stowmarket, Suffolk, just before 2pm on Sunday.The deaths are currently being treated as unexplained. Police said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. Their bodies were found at the £300,000 property, where they had lived since 2009.Neighbours said the couple had four children – two of whom lived at home and another two who had moved away to university. Richard and Sarah Pitkin at the opening of their tea room in 2009Credit:Archant The couple, found at the above property, have been named locally as Richard Pitkin, 65, and his 58-year-old wife, SarahCredit:Chris Radburn/PA Wire Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.