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Emergencies
19 January 2009

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, and its prime minister in waiting, Morgan Tsvangirai, have not agreed on much since they signed a deal four months ago to run the government together. But on Sunday they seemed to find common ground on at least one thing: their power-sharing deal will either come to fruition this week or collapse. [...] The consequences of the country’s political turmoil — and the absence of an undisputed government since March — have turned the country into a humanitarian disaster zone. A cholera epidemic brought on by the collapse of water, sanitation and health services still rages. More than 43,000 cases have been reported since August and almost 2,300 people have died. About half the population is now hungry and dependent on international food aid.


16 January 2009

Maxmore Mhazo brightens as he talks about how food handouts from aid agencies have saved lives at his Zimbabwean village, but he is worried by the dwindling size of the portions. "Many of us would be dead were it not for these donations," the 74-year-old retired mine worker said as he and scores of others in Chirumanzu lined up for food packages distributed by British aid agency Oxfam and the World Food Programme (WFP). Each got 10 kg (22 lb) of maize, a pint of cooking oil and a bar of laundry soap, but that was less than they had received in the past three months because of the strain put on donors trying to fight Zimbabwe's multiplying problems. "We are doomed without this programme," Mhazo said at the village in central Zimbabwe. [...] An estimated five million Zimbabweans, about 40 percent of the population, are surviving on food aid. Donors expect that number to grow, but they are also diverting money from food aid to fight a cholera epidemic that has already killed over 2,100 people and their appeals for more funding are not being met in full. [...] The WFP, a U.N. agency, sounded the alarm this week when it announced that it was $65 million short of the $140 million it wanted to raise in an emergency food appeal for Zimbabwe.


16 January 2009

Zimbabwe will introduce a Z$100-trillion note, in its latest attempt to keep pace with hyperinflation that has left its once-vibrant economy in tatters, state media said Friday. [...] Meanwhile, chronic shortages of food are starting to bite again this year, as rural households' supplies from last year's harvest are running out months before the new crops will be ready. The World Food Programme says five million people - nearly half the population - are dependent on food aid.


16 January 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai, embattled leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's main opposition party, has urged humanitarian agencies to continue aid to the country, and announced plans to reopen negotiations with President Robert Mugabe. [...] The World Food Programme has predicted that 5.5 million people - half the population - will need food aid in the first quarter of 2009.


5 January 2009

By any reasonable measure, Zimbabwe's president has committed crimes against humanity justifying an international response If the Bush doctrine justified the use of armed force to prevent harm to westerners, then the Obama doctrine should be to use the force of international law to stop crimes against humanity or grave, man-made humanitarian disasters.