Zimbabwe declares national emergency over cholera outbreak

December 4th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Harare, Dec 4 (Xinhua) Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency following a countrywide outbreak of cholera epidemic and asked donor countries for assistance, the state-run Herald newspaper reported Thursday. Health minister David Parirenyatwa said Wednesday hospitals were in urgent need of drugs, food and equipment to tackle the situation.

“Our central hospitals are literally not functioning. Our staff is demotivated and we need your (donors) support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived,” Parirenyatwa said.

The Herald quoted the minister as saying that among the items urgently required by hospitals are medicines, laboratory reagents, dialysis and laundry equipment, X-ray films and boilers.

He said 563 people have died of cholera across the country.

“I am appealing for at least 40 million rand ($3.90 million) to purchase chemicals for the next two months and the money is needed between now and next Monday,” the Herald quoted water and infrastructure development minister Walter Mzembi as saying.

According to the state media, donors who included United Nation agencies, foreign governments and non-governmental organizations pledged to help the government address the situation.

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