US $257 million aid requested

HARARE - The United Nations has appealed urgently to the international community to provide Zimbabwe with US$257 million for aid to avert a humanitarian disaster in the crisis-torn country. In a revised consolidated appeal for the 2006/2007 periods, the U.N. said the amount was required by Zimbab

we “to prevent the further breakdown in essential health and education services and to ensure that the country’s growing number of orphaned and vulnerable children are not forgotten.”
“Among the expected developments are: decreases in the quality of and access to basic services; deepening of urban poverty; continued difficulty for people previously employed in the informal sector in re-establishing their livelihoods; continued emigration, both legally and illegally; and deepening overall vulnerability to natural disasters,” says the appeal. The appeal will also help the U.N. Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) to respond urgently to the plight of vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, the U.N. said in a statement. The appeal has so far raised $145 million of the required US$ 257 million. The world body warns that “unless appropriate humanitarian action is taken, the use of negative coping mechanisms (such as sexual transactions) could increase, placing vulnerable persons at further risk, deepening poverty and reducing opportunities for recovery”. “The priorities for the next six months and beyond will be to save lives, enhance positive coping mechanisms and livelihoods, mitigate the impact on vulnerable populations, and ensure a comprehensive and co-ordinated humanitarian response from national and international actors.” The UN said HIV/Aids continued to have a devastating impact on the country and larger segments of the population were unable to afford or access health services or education, increasing their risk of disease, malnutrition and destitution.
“We know that the brunt of this humanitarian crisis is being hardest felt by the country’s children, but especially the growing population of orphans, who are most likely to end up hungry, out of school and at risk of abuse,” said UNICEF. – Own correspondent

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