Cholera Outbreak Hits Zimbabwe as Australia Increases Aid

Published 02 December 2008
Fifty-three cholera deaths have been recorded in Zimbabwe in a single day the United Nations says, putting the death toll since August at 366 and the number of cases at 8887. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also warns of reports being received from South Africa's health ministry of suspected cholera cases in Botswana. South African health officials are also meeting to tackle the cholera outbreak which has also claimed lives in South Africa with 3 reported deaths amongst 168 patients.

In the meantime Australia will provide a further $8 million of urgent food and other assistance to the people of Zimbabwe in response to the escalating humanitarian crisis. The situation in Zimbabwe has become extremely grave, with critical shortages of food and clean water. Currently in Zimbabwe, 28 per cent of children under five are chronically malnourished. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that over five million people - nearly half Zimbabwe's population - will require food aid by early next year. Australia will contribute:

$6 million to the World Food Programme; and

$2 million to NGOs in partnership with the UK's Department for International Development (DFID). This assistance brings Australia's support for Zimbabweans to nearly $20 million in 2008-09.

Australia's contribution will assist those most vulnerable to hunger, in particular orphans, those affected by HIV/AIDS and people displaced by politically motivated violence initiated by the Mugabe regime. It will also protect livelihoods and improving access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. The Australian Government remains gravely concerned by the ongoing political crisis in Zimbabwe, where people continue to be denied a democratic and representative government and will maintain targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime which has caused so much of the suffering.

Source: APN

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