Food aid could escalate Zimbabwe cholera crisis

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Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic is in danger of being worsened further by the
distribution of much-needed food aid, it has been warned.

Aid organisations are implementing emergency measures to prevent mass food distributions acting as the “perfect conduit” for the spread of cholera.

Almost 1000 people have been killed by the latest outbreak, while 16,000 have been infected.

Care International said that with half the population of Zimbabwe expected
to be reliant on food aid by January 2009, the situation was fraught with

“More than five million people in the country need food aid right now,” said
the aid group’s assistant country director in Zimbabwe Fridah Kalumba.

“But with the cholera outbreak, we need to ensure people are protected
during distributions, so the disease doesn’t spread further.”

Yesterday president Robert Mugabe insisted the country’s cholera outbreak,
which has caused South Africa to declare its border region with Zimbabwe a
disaster area, had been contained.

He said the end of the outbreak meant world leaders such as George Bush,
Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy could no longer ‘make threats’ over the
likelihood of military intervention in Zimbabwe.

But just across the Bietbridge border post lies South Africa’s province of Limpopo most heavily affected by the cholera epidemic, transported by Zimbabwean refugees, has been declared adisaster area.

The move will free up resources to help the health services straining to
cope with at least 680 reported cases.

The move came hours before the leader of Zimbabwe¹s Zanu-PF party, Mugabe, reportedly said that there was no cholera in Zimbabwe.

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