4 Dec 2008

Zimbabwe reportedly asks for cholera help

8:58 pm on 4 December 2008

The World Health Organisation says Zimbabwe's government has asked for urgent international help to tackle an outbreak of cholera.

At a meeting with aid agencies, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa is reported to have asked for medicine, equipment and funds to pay medical staff.

The UN says cholera has killed at least 565 people in Zimbabwe since August.

Ministers previously said the outbreak was under control and blamed it on Western sanctions on President Mugabe.

On Wednesday, police in the capital, Harare, broke up a protest march by doctors and nurses angered at the worsening outbreak.

At the meeting, Mr Parirenyatwa said his government needed water as well as santitation equipment.

The WHO says it has flown enough anti-cholera supplies and medicines to Harare to treat up to 2,000 moderate cases.

Some 12,545 cases of cholera have been recorded in Zimbabwe since August, according to the latest statement from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Most of Zimbabwe's capital has been without water since Sunday.