Zimbabwe government: "Cholera brought under control"
According to the Zimbabwean authorities, the cholera epidemic has been brought under control. "We have the means to combat the disease," said information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. These statements are in sharp contrast with findings by the United Nations.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 746 people have died of the disease so far, and 15 572 were infected as per December 9. The previous day, the death toll stood at 589.
The epicenter of the cholera epidemic - one of the worst in recent history - is the country's capital Harare. Here 189 people died and 7653 contracted the disease.
Meanwhile the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that up to 60,000 Zimbabweans could become infected with cholera if the epidemic is not being brought under control soon. In order to tackle the outbreak, the UN's children's fund UNICEF stated that it needs $17 ,5 million.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has declared the situation as a national emergency and appealed for international aid to fight the disease last week. However, barely a week ago, the authorities said the epidemic was 'under control' and refused to declare the situation as a national emergency.
"The situation is under under control. There is no need to declare it," Edwin Muguti told the international press agency AFP last week. He blamed the situation on sanctions imposed by Western nations on President Robert Mugabe's regime.
"These are results of punitive illegal sanctions imposed on us by the West," Muguti said. "... I am sure they like what they are seeing from this outbreak."
Meanwhile, various heads of state and prominent individual- including George W. Bush, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Kenya's prime minister Raila Odinga have called for the ousting of Zimbabwe;s leader Robert Mugabe.
Some even opted for a military force. This was rejected by the African Union, who stated that "only dialogue can fix Zimbabwe's problems".
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Cape Town, South Africa