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December 5, 2008
Cholera claims more than 560 lives in Zimbabwe

A family waits for cholera treatment in Zimbabwe.

On Thursday, Zimbabwe declared a national emergency due to a cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 560 lives.

The day before, police broke up a riot in the country’s capital, Harare, where doctors and nurses rallied for better pay as the epidemic worsens — along with Zimbabwe’s plummeting economy. Earlier in the week authorities cut the water supply to Harare in order to curb the spread of the disease.

Since August of this year, at least 12,546 cases of cholera have been reported, according to the United Nations.

Blogger Grace Mutandwa of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Zimbabwe writes from Harare that without water or proper sanitation, the population is doomed, claiming that authorities are not taking the crisis seriously.

The “This is Zimbabwe” blog says that raw sewage flows in the streets of Harare — not far from the city’s marketplace — and that the medical system has collapsed, blaming the country’s leaders.

Michael Trapido of “Thought Leader” writes that President Robert Mugabe’s administration endangered not only Zimbabweans but also South Africans by attempting to conceal the epidemic.

A member of Doctors Without Borders writes from Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, about that city’s attempts to manage the quick spread of the disease despite overwhelmed and undersupplied hospitals.

Blogger “Lauben Muhumuza” from Uganda sympathizes with Zimbabweans, wondering, “Where is Africa heading?”

The epidemic has been linked to the country’s political impasse, since cholera is easily prevented or cured but the country’s health sector is flailing. For more on Zimbabwe’s political struggles, read our previous blogwatch: African countries step in to resolve Zimbabwe’s impasse.

Below, see a map courtesy of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs detailing the spread of the disease in Zimbabwe.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Sokwanele under a Creative Commons license.


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[…] leaders call for Zimbabwe’s Mugabe to step downFree healthcare but long lines in UgandaCholera claims more than 560 lives in ZimbabweAfrican countries step in to resolve Zimbabwe’s impasseRwanda aims for one laptop per […]

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