The United Nations Monday launched a 718 million-dollar (R5 715 2800) appeal
to ease Zimbabwe's health, food and education crises.
Appealing for the cash injection on behalf of the UN's various
development agencies, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Zimbabwe,
Agostino Zacarias, warned Zimbabwe faced another devastating
cholera outbreak if basic infrastructure was not improved.
The current cholera outbreak, which began in a township outside
Harare last August, has killed nearly 4,300 people so far and
infected over 100,000 people.
Cholera still a major concern
While the rate of new infections has slowed dramatically in
recent weeks following massive intervention by aid agencies, the
underlying causes of the outbreak still remain.
"Unless the water and sewerage infrastructure is addressed the
next outbreak from the next rainy season will affect more than
125,000 people," Zacarias said.
Around 6 million people, over half the population estimated at
around 10 million, have limited or no access to safe drinking
water, according to UN figures.
Money donated to the UN appeal would also be used to restock
clinics and hospitals with drugs, rebuild or upgrade dilapidated
schools and feed the 7.1 million Zimbabweans who rely on food aid.
Political situation unsteady
While appealing for aid from donors who have been reluctant to
plough money into Zimbabwe until the new unity government led by
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai makes
a clean break with the repression of the past, the UN has also
expressed concern about the political situation.
Politicians, journalists, lawyers and activists who are
critical of Mugabe and/or his Zanu-PF party continue to be harassed
by police and detained, usually on charges of conspiring against
In a report to diplomats, the UN Office of Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that fresh elections, due within
the next year and a half, could result in "renewed violence and
human rights abuses."
The government accused OCHA of a "lack of good faith" for the
remarks. -(Sapa, June 2009).