More than 69,000 cholera cases in Zimbabwe

Reuters AlertNet - More than 69,000 cholera cases in Zimbabwe - U.N..

HARARE, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The number of people suffering from cholera in Zimbabwe has risen to more than 69,000 cases, U.N. figures showed, putting further pressure on leaders to end a humanitarian crisis after forming a unity government.

The World Health Organisation said the epidemic has killed 3,397 people out of 69,317 cases since August, the deadliest outbreak in Africa in 15 years.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s decision to create a unity government with President Robert Mugabe could give authorities a better chance of tackling the disease that has deepened Zimbabwe’s hardships.

Zimbabwe’s health system has collapsed under an economic crisis that has left eight in 10 people out of employment in the once prosperous country. Poor medical facilities and sanitation have helped spread the cholera.

More than half of Zimbabwe is surviving on food aid and the population is also struggling with the world’s highest inflation rate of over 231 million percent as of July last year.

Zimbabwe’s parliament passed a constitutional bill last week to allow a coalition government of Mugabe and opposition rivals to be set up under a deal to end the political and economic crisis.
February 9th, 2009 in Breaking News, World Alerts