Thursday, September 13, 2007

Death Spiral

In Zimbabwe, it continues to get worse:

According to the World Health Organisation, Zimbabwe now has the world's lowest life expectancy - 37 years for a man, 34 for a woman.

Funerals are about the only growth industry.

....Hospitals, already dealing with the Aids epidemic and malnutrition, are preparing themselves for a further catastrophe. The first deaths from cholera have already been reported.

"The problem," said one doctor, "is that people's immune systems are already so weakened by hunger they can't resist the horrors that the government is throwing at them."

The food queues start at dawn and wind around several blocks of the city. ....

For now, one of the most patient, well educated and resourceful people in Africa are devising ever more ingenious coping strategies.

Twenty per cent of the city of Harare has been dug up to make way for random plots of vegetables. People do not leave home without wheeling barrows or carrying buckets and bags, always on the look-out for an unexpected delivery. You see the desperate sifting through rubbish skips for scraps of food.

....The Institute of Migration estimates that four million people, more than a quarter of the population, have already left the country - three million to South Africa.

"I had no choice," one refugee said as she got off the bus in Johannesburg. "There is no food. My children are starving. Robert Mugabe is killing us".

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