After denying it needed help the Zimbabwean government is now appealing for aid as cholera begins to claim hundreds of lives.
A National Emergency has been declared as the bankrupt nation’s water supplies fail and break down. The country’s once-proud hospitals are ruins of their former selves, and are having to send people away for lack of medicine or beds.
The death toll is over 500 now, and is likely to get worse:
“Honestly I am very scared of cholera. I will never drink water from this place. No, I won’t. It is unfortunate that people have no alternative, because there is no water. People are being forced to get water from these wells, unprotected wells,”
says one man.
Malnutrition thanks to years of poverty and agricultural deficit means many are ill-equipped to deal with such a health crisis. Hospitals are having to send to people to neighbouring countries like South Africa to save lives.
“If they were having service on that side they wouldn’t even walk so long or even travel such long distances, being dehydrated at the same time, coming for treatment,” said one South African doctor on the border.
Millions will be needed to get the country back on track, and some aid has already been pledged, but donors may be wary of giving more until there is a return to political stability.