Australia gives aid to fight cholera epidemic

HARARE - Australia will provide an extra US$5 million immediately to help Zimbabwe fight a cholera outbreak that has left nearly 3,500 people dead. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith made the pledge during a phone call on Friday, February 13 to congratulate Morgan Tsvangirai on becoming Zimbabwe's new prime minister.

Tsvangirai took the prime ministerial oath on Wednesday as part of a
power-sharing agreement with long time president Robert Mugabe. Smith
said the UN had reported 73,000 cases of cholera and almost 3,500
deaths in Zimbabwe.

"I told Prime Minister Tsvangirai that the
government and the people of Australia stood with him as he confronted
the enormous challenges faced by the people of Zimbabwe,” said Smith.
"The cholera epidemic is the worst in modern day Zimbabwe and the worst

Africa for several years.”

The funding will go to the
United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), with US$3 million to be used
for its emergency water and sanitation program and US$2 million to
boost its medicines support program.

Smith said the federal government was considering other ways to aid Zimbabwe.

government is carefully and urgently examining what assistance it can
give, particularly in the health, education, food security and
agriculture areas,” he said.

"Australia will also consult with other major aid donors to determine how best we can assist the people of Zimbabwe.”

Post published in: Analysis

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