16 Dec 2008

Zimbabwe cholera deaths reach 978 - UN

7:41 am on 16 December 2008

The number of deaths in a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe have risen to 978 with 18,413 suspected cases reported across the southern African country.

Zimbabwe's capital Harare is the worst-hit district, with 208 deaths and 8,454 suspected cases, according to the United Nations.

The town of Beitbridge, which borders South Africa, was also badly affected. Some 91 people there have been killed by the disease, while 3,546 are suspected to be suffering from cholera.

The latest toll came as the United States and Britain were expected to lobby the UN Security Council to turn up the heat on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

However, Harare has vowed to thwart western efforts to put Zimbabwe on the Security Council agenda, saying it was not a threat to international security.