Cholera, Starvation Plague Zimbabwe

Caritas Reports People Eating Cow Dung

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HARARE, Zimbabwe, DEC. 10, 2008 ( As the World Health Organization today reported 775 cholera deaths in Zimbabwe, Caritas reported that people are mixing cow dung with remaining food to make it last a bit longer.

«This is poverty at its most dehumanizing,» said Lesley-Anne Knight, Caritas secretary-general.

And still no political headway is being made regarding a power-sharing deal that was supposed to resolve last March’s disputed elections.

Caritas is preparing for starvation to spread after poor harvests. In October, the aid organization found that 70%-90% of the households in their work area were going hungry. At least 5.1 million people face starvation, the agency reported.

Meanwhile, cholera is quickly becoming a widespread epidemic, with nearly 16,000 cases reported, mostly near the national capital of Harare.

Knight said: «Zimbabwe’s political impasse can continue no longer. An effective government that can rectify the policies that have put the country into this position must be established.

«The international community must maintain the pressure on Zimbabwe for an end to this crisis. We must also prepare ourselves for the implosion of the country and the catastrophe that will mean in terms of human suffering across the region. Zimbabwe’s neighbors must address the xenophobia directed at Zimbabwean refugees in their own countries.

«These are very challenging conditions for aid agencies to operate, but Caritas remains committed to delivering aid to the country in its hour of need.»

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