UN: Cholera deaths to increase

Geneva – The number of dead from cholera in Zimbabwe continued to rise, the United Nations said on Tuesday, and so far 313 deaths have been reported in the latest outbreak of the disease.

"We are very concerned by the deteriorating health situation in Zimbabwe," the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in Geneva.

The number of reported cases in the country in the past three months has increased to 7 283, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, up over 1 000 from a week before.

The most affected areas were parts of the capital Harare.

UN agencies said they were trying to respond to the crisis, made more difficult by a health workers strike in the Southern African country.

The UN children fund, Unicef, said the outbreak was "spreading at an alarming rate", and noted that had better health services been available, three out of every four deaths could have been averted.

The fund called for better drinking water and basic sanitation services, saying it would step in to help along with the WHO which was already bringing in urgently needed medical supplies to Zimbabwe.

The WHO said it was also working with neighbouring countries, particularly South Africa and Mozambique, to prevent a spread of the disease, as outbreaks have been reported near the borders. – Sapa-dpa – SAPA