Aid groups seek $718m for Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's humanitarian situation has deteriorated sharply since the end of last year, UN agencies said yesterday as they called for more aid for the troubled southern African country.
In a joint statement, the agencies appealed for $718 million for 2009 to provide food, clean water, AIDS medicines, and other aid - up from an estimate of $550 million in November. They said donor response has been "below average," with just $246 million provided by May 26.
Basic social services have collapsed amid economic crisis and political violence. A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 4,200 people since August and increased hunger has worsened an already critical situation, the agencies said.
Humanitarian aid contained the cholera outbreak and helped - "despite enormous operational difficulties" - in improving health, education, and water services, the statement said.
But "the country's humanitarian needs remain staggering," it said. "The magnitude of the economic decline and erosion of sources of livelihood is such that it is unlikely the humanitarian needs will lessen in the short term."