Zimbabwe's deputy health minister Edwin Muguti on Thursday appealed for aid to fight a cholera epidemic, saying the death toll had risen to 386 and could get worse.
Muguti, who just one day earlier had insisted that the outbreak was under control, said a total of 9 363 cases had been reported and warned the disease could spread even more as the rainy season gets underway.
"With the coming of the rainy season, the situation could get worse. Our problems are quite simple. We need to be assisted," he said on state television. "We are quite grateful to the South Africans who have assisted us to contain the outbreak," he added.
"It's very regrettable that people are dying of cholera," Muguti said, and again blamed Western sanctions on President Robert Mugabe for creating the outbreak. "Maybe the ones who created this situation have decided to kill us softly," he said.
Cholera has exploded across the country, as the nation's dilapidated infrastructure has left sewage flowing openly in the streets while drinking water goes untreated.
The disease has affected neighbouring South Africa, where five people died of cholera after returning from Zimbabwe over the last week. More than 200 others have been treated in a hospital in the South African border town of Musina. - (Sapa-AFP)
HIVSA at low risk of Zim's cholera