See also:
» 07.01.2011 - Record Zimbabwe debts to Equatorial Guinea
» 17.11.2010 - Zim diamond certification scandal revealed
» 04.03.2010 - Britain no yet convinced to lift Zim sanctions
» 02.03.2010 - Obama extends Zim sanctions for another year
» 01.03.2010 - Heading for another economic disaster
» 26.02.2010 - Evicted Zim farmers in another ‘victory’
» 17.02.2010 - Not so quick Robert...
» 27.01.2010 - Australia entrust SA with Zim recovery funding

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$5 million boost for cholera fight in Zim

afrol News, 19 January - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced a $5 million donation for Zimbabwe’s besieged health sector to help it battle the cholera epidemic and the effects of collapsing health services. The donation comes despite a continued political stalemate over a power sharing deal in the country.

The death toll in the southern African country’s worst ever cholera outbreak is now reported at over 2,000, with over half the estimated 40,000 diagnosed cases in the capital, Harare.

“The cholera outbreak is the tip of the iceberg,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman while visiting Zimbabwe last week.

“The economy in Zimbabwe is crumbling, with the highest inflation rate in the world at 231 million percent,” she said, adding that “over half the population is receiving food aid, health centers have closed and when the school term starts there is no guarantee that there will be enough teachers.”

The disease, which is caused by contaminated food or water, has affected nearly all of Zimbabwe, which has been faced with years of failed harvests, bad governance and hyperinflation, as well as months of political tension after disputed presidential elections in March.

In discussions with President Robert Mugabe and others, Ms Veneman underscored the humanitarian impact on women and children, stressing “more than ever before all stakeholders must put children at the forefront of their collective agenda.”

Ms Veneman also visited a cholera treatment clinic and a care center that is part of a UNICEF supported programme that helps 250,000 orphans and vulnerable children.

UNICEF and its partners have been responding to the emergency, providing vital equipment to cholera treatment centers, as well as 70 per cent of the country’s essential medicines.

Over the next four months it will support the drilling of 100 boreholes in areas in need of water.

Meanwhile, political talks in Zimbabwe which resumed today have seen both the ruling party and the opposition maintaining their earlier stands, with Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC saying they would rather take control of the contested ministries. On the other hand, president Robert Mugabe has said he is giving the MDC the last chance to make up or his is ready to form a new government with or without them.

The fresh talks are the last hope for the SADC leaders together with the mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, to knock in some settlement sense on the waring parties in Zimbabwe.

The powersharing deal signed in 15 September last year, has been stalled mainly on the allocation of key ministries, which the opposition claim Mr Mugabe is trying to keep for his control.

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