No improvement in humanitarian situation

The power sharing accord signed last week has so far failed to improve the country's humanitarian situation on the ground.

One report by the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks says 5 children died in Masvingo from malnutrition-related diseases last week. Members of the Catholic run Bondolfi Mission confirmed that 2 of the children died in the Mapanzure area near the mission and 3 at a clinic in Mukaro Mission in the neighbouring Gutu district.

Reports from the Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Food Programme project that over 5 million people in Zimbabwe will face food insecurity by 2009. Although officially non-governmental organizations were given the go-ahead to resume aid operations last month Fambai Ngirande from the association representing the NGOs said structural barriers were still affecting their work. He cited the notorious ‘youth militia,’ and ‘bureaucratic conditions’ in place as hampering their efforts. He said some local community leaders were still insisting on controlling aid distribution along party political lines.

Ngirande told Newsreel they were hoping the international community would support their humanitarian efforts based on the ‘naked facts on the ground’  but that it seemed most wanted to assess the power sharing deal first. What this means is that while Mugabe engages in delaying tactics over agreeing an equitable distribution of cabinet portfolios with the MDC many vulnerable people are facing starving.

Last week the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent announced the start of a food distribution exercise, but only targeting people infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. Doubts remain over the effectiveness of Zimbabwe’s Red Cross Society with allegations ZANU PF was in charge of the organization. The society was rocked by allegations that funds and vehicles were abused to benefit ZANU PF and some of its officials, while members from the army were recruited into the organization. Earlier this year it’s donors, mainly the European Union, Britain and Denmark, pushed for an inquiry into the allegations.
SWRadio Africa

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