U.K. plans to spend $3.16 million on Sierra Leone cholera

The United Kingdom is activating a $3.16 million emergency plan to stop the cholera epidemic from spreading in the African state of Sierra Leone after more than 200 people have died.

The Department for International Development is using a network called the Rapid Response Facility to deliver sanitation, water and emergency medical assistance to the country. Charities such as the British Red Cross, Care International, Concern, Oxfam, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children are mobilizing as part of the response to the water-borne disease, BBC reports.

"If we can't get this outbreak under control quickly and comprehensively, it has the potential to kill many more children," Heather Kerr, Save the Children's country director for Sierra Leone, said, according to BBC. "Children die very quickly from cholera if they don't receive immediate medical help. The sheer volume of people who are contracting the disease means that aid agencies need more funding now to respond more efficiently to this devastating outbreak."

The epidemic could cause millions to be at risk for infection. The DFID plan involves shipping water purification kits and anti-cholera drugs to the nation, while supplying clean water and sanitation to nearly two million individuals.

"Not only will our response be rapid, it will be efficient," Andrew Mitchell, the DFID secretary, said, according to BBC. "We will monitor closely to make sure every penny of British aid achieves results and supports those in dire need. Urgent action is required to halt the spread of disease and save lives - Britain is leading the way."

The outbreak has infected more than 12,000 people with cholera, causing Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma to declare an emergency.