December 7, 2005

Crisis is deepening, says UN envoy

According to UN humanitarian envoy Jan Egeland the humanitarian crisis was deepening, with millions in need of aid. "The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is very serious. The need for international aid is big and growing," Egeland, the UN humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said after talks with President Robert Mugabe and government officials. "Millions of people are struggling with their back against the wall to fend off hunger, to fend off AIDS and a lot of other things," he continued. Before, President Mugabe had rejected a UN offer to provide temporary shelter for victims of the slum clearance programme but did accept an offer of food aid. According to the UN, Zimbabwe needed emergency aid including tents to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of homeless but the government claims it only needed help to provide permanent homes. Egeland also noted that there was progress on aid, especially for people suffering with HIV/AIDS. (Business Day, South Africa)

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