Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has announced that a deadly cholera outbreak has been contained, but the United Nations, United States and South Africa disagree. The announcement comes amid mounting pressure on Mugabe to resign.
REUTERS - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe announced on Thursday his government had stopped a cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 800 people, but the United Nations said the death toll was rising.
"I am happy we are being assisted by others and we have arrested cholera," Mugabe said in a speech in which he also attacked what he described as Western plans to invade
"Now that there is no cholera there is no case for war."
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the toll from the water-borne disease, normally easy to prevent and treat, had risen to 783 and that 16,403 were believed to be infected.
Asked about Mugabe's remarks, OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs in
"This is a cholera outbreak that is ongoing and urgent. This is clearly a humanitarian crisis," USAID administrator Henrietta Fore told a news conference in
The collapse of
"The whole of the Vhembe district has been declared a disaster," said Mogale Nchabeleng, a spokesman for
The outbreak, coupled with an economic meltdown, has prompted calls for international humanitarian assistance as well as calls for Mugabe's resignation from Western leaders and some within
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai reached a power-sharing deal brokered by regional mediator
The MDC said on Thursday that the cholera outbreak showed Mugabe's government could no longer rule the country and accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of orchestrating a campaign of abductions of MDC leaders and activists.
"We remain on the side of the people while ZANU-PF remains on the side of terror. We remain on the side of the downtrodden while ZANU-PF is firmly etched in the dark corner of an avaricious, parasitic elite," the MDC said in a statement.
The French foreign ministry said
"Contrary to what Mr Mugabe says, the cholera epidemic is not under control...
The United Nations has warned that cholera could infect 60,000 if not treated properly.
Date created : 2008-12-12