Australia issues a revised warning to its citizens travelling to Zim (12-07-07)

By Natasha Hove

THE Australian government has issued a revised warning to its citizens against traveling to Zimbabwe as violence escalates in the country amidst the chaos accompanying the government directive on price cuts.

The revised travel warning

released today (Thursday) by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) predicted civil unrest as struggling Zimbabweans protest the deteriorating economic meltdown and shortages of commodities following the crackdown on businesses.

“We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Zimbabwe at this time due to the high level of criminal activity, the absence of the rule of law, and deteriorating economic conditions which could lead to civil unrest at any time,” DFAT said in its upgraded travel advisory.

“The security situation could deteriorate quickly and without warning, and Australians could be caught up in violence directed at others. In these circumstances, departure options may be severely limited.”

The government – which blames businesses of conniving with its western enemies to create a crisis in a bid to incite Zimbabweans to revolt – has set up a unit drawn from all of its security agencies to enforce the blanket price cuts.

The upgraded travel advisory also cautioned about the economic chaos befalling the country. “Zimbabwe is experiencing hyperinflation, mass unemployment, a severe shortage of foreign exchange, and the breakdown of basic services such as power, water and transport.

“Health services are unreliable. Basic commodities such as food, fuel and medical supplies are now in short supply, leading to panic-buying in shops and supermarkets,” DFAT said.

Outgoing United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell has predicted that the galloping economic crises in the country could sweep President Robert Mugabe’s government out of power.

Dell said no government throughout history had ever survived an economic crisis of the magnitude Zimbabwe was facing, with inflation nearing seven figure digits and the formal economy barely functioning- CAJ News.

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