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Struggling to survive as a country crumbles

Video by Caroline DUMAY , Alex DUVAL SMITH

Latest update : 2008-12-19

For Zimbabweans, suffering is becoming all too routine in places where many are left to eat dumped rubbish. FRANCE 24's Alex Duval Smith spoke with some of them.

Read also, Mugabe under pressure to share power as cholera spreads

   

   

FRANCE 24 - Zimbabwe is in the midst of a cholera epidemic and in the country’s second city, Bulawayo, a state of crisis is an everyday affair. Outside the banks, crowds queue to draw millions of Zimbabwe dollars that are almost worthless. The city itself is bankrupt; basic services to its two million inhabitants have ceased. To have ready access to clean water is a luxury. 

 

According to Stella Allberry, secretary of health for the opposition party MDC-M: “Zimbabwe was a country which worked well in many ways. We can still see that – good buildings along the roads and cars driving along. But behind this façade things are going badly. Here, one dies for things that one shouldn’t die for.”

 

The sanitary situation in Bulawayo has worsened as the rubbish has piled up. When FRANCE 24’s reporters take waste to the tip, street children rush to the car, hungry for a share of the spoils. The youngsters live on the dump, and one has recently died here from cholera.

 

Zimbabweans have not been governed for nearly a year. Its leaders are locked in disagreement over a power-sharing deal. And there's still very little to look for beyond the immediate horizon.

 

World leaders have accused President Robert Mugabe of failing his country as inflation spirals out of control and hunger and thirst become a way of life for millions. Most recently the US ambassador to Harrare, James McGee, accused Mugabe of "criminal negligence."

In an editorial for South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper, McGee said that Mugabe was consciously diverting precious resources for personal gain. "Instead of spending scarce resources on water purification chemicals that might stop the cholera epidemic," McGee writes, "they are manipulating currency to make a personal profit."

 

 


 

Date created : 2008-12-14

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